The Hill’s Haggis have been spotted trembling after reading in a wind-blown copy of The Wee Paper that the hunters are on their way.
Final arrangements for Sunday’s Great Selkirk Haggis Hunt will be concluded at the hunt’s HQ in the Town Arms on Saturday night. And despite the storms that drenched The Hill, scouting parties sent out by the organisers have reported large numbers of healthy specimens.
And that is being seen as a testament to local breeders.
Deputy Head Haggis Hunter Davie Scott enthused: “We are delightfully surprised each year at the excellent quality of the Chieftains o’ the Pudding Race. It shows the devoted care and loving attention shown by the breeders – our local butchers and supermarkets.
“Without their commitment to their own, secret, breeding arrangements, it is unlikely that the native stock of Hill Haggis would have survived to allow this great expedition to take place. We are truly grateful. We are also much indebted to others who make the Hunt possible and they will be publicly thanked once the Hunt is over.”
From humble beginnings by a few customers at the Town Arms Inn 12 years ago, last year’s hunt attracted 450 hunters and has become a family occasion.
Hunters gather in the Market Place at 11.02am for a briefing on the rules and a stirrup cup, which includes juice for the many youngsters. The wearing of tartan is encouraged and baggie nets are the most popular weapon for capturing the Great Chieftain. Home-made bows and arrows and cricket bats have also been used.
Hunters are led from the Market Place to the skirl of the pipes and there is a pause at the Argus Centre for the dancing of the Haggis Polka, with music provided by Riddell Fiddles. Then it is onwards and upwards to The Hill and the search begins in earnest.
Davie Scott told us: “Although Haggis numbers are good, we are keen for adults to operate a catch-and-release method of hunting so that the youngsters have as much opportunity as possible to develop their haggis-hunting skills.”
Hunt sabs have appeared in the past but most have now been converted. However, Davie revealed: “After trawling through social media our head of security, Commander Beachy Grieve, has discovered that we may get a visit from some Highlanders who want the haggis to be a protected species, but we understand any demonstration will be peaceful with no attempt to disrupt the hunt.”
Some haggis will be cooked on The Hill and the finest will be addressed in the traditional manner and toasts will be drunk. Hunters receive a signed certificate and music will be provided in the lounge of the Town Arms.