Whole hill of haggis awaiting the hunters

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GALE-force winds have failed to blow the haggis from Selkirk Hill and the traditional January hunt will go ahead as planned, writes Bob Burgess.

That was the welcome news given to TheSouthern after a meeting of the hunt’s organisers at their HQ in the Town Arms.

The winds that have been lashing Scotland, driving travel into chaos, bringing down hotel roofs and felling trees, have failed to hit the event which takes place on Sunday, January 22.

The hunt was started a few years ago by a handful of pub locals eager to blow away the January cobwebs but has developed into a family affair and last year’s event attracted about 200 adults and children.

Head hunter Jimmy Linton told us: “The Hill haggis are indeed a hardy breed. In recent years they have survived prolonged snow and temperatures that would have done nasty things to brass monkeys.

“But our scouting parties have braved the gales and returned with the news that haggis numbers are exceptionally high, so the Town Arms Great Selkirk Haggis Hunt of 2012 promises to be one of the best.

“The usual rules apply – weapons are confined to home made bows and arrows and, of course, baggie nets suitably adapted to snare puddin’ race chieftains.”

Hunters meet in the Market Place at 11.01am for a stirrup cup, a short history of the hunt and a briefing on the rules of engagement.

Participants are then led by a piper, possibly two, to the Hill. A stop is made outside the Argus Centre on the edge of Selkirk Hill where local group Riddell Fiddles provide music for the dancing of the Haggis Polka.

Following the hunt and after the haggis have been counted, certificates will be issued to the young hunters and, for the adults, a musical afternoon follows in Town Arms lounge.