Hopes are high for another record-breaking catch on Sunday, January 21, as the Great Haggis Hunt takes place on Selkirk Hill.
The event began as a bit of a laugh for a few regulars at the Town Arms pub, but over the years, it has grown to become one of the largest culls of the great chieftain o’ the puddin’ race in Scotland, and, indeed, anywhere.
Last year, no less than 400 hardy hunters, armed to the teeth with nets, sticks, home-made bows and arrows and decoys, braved the cold of the hill to snatch more haggis than ever before.
Included in the catch were the rare microwavable and vegetarian varieties.
But the high catch last year has not overly affected numbers on the hill.
Organiser Davie Scott said: “I’ve done a preliminary survey of the hill and things are looking good for the 21st.
“There apears to be a plentiful supply of haggis, with a fair number of young birds, so things are looking good for the future.”
It has become a fascinating day out for the family, and there is always the chance you will catch enough for your tea.
The day begins with the muster in the Market Place at 11.02am precisely, with a wee nip for the adults and a juice for the young ones, compliments of the Town Arms.
The crowd – bedecked in tartan, which is believed to soothe the beasts – are then piped up to the Argus Centre, where, with the help of Riddell Fiddles, the Haggis Polka is danced. The reason for this is unclear, but it seems to work.
Once on the hill, at the “Chinese Hut”, the final instructions are given, and the hunters are let loose. Soon after, once the haggis population on the hill has been severely depleted, a count will be made.
Then, after the traditional address to the haggis is made by actor Matthew Burgess – son of the late former Southern Reporter journalist Bob, who performed the poem by Rabbie Burns until he died in 2016 – and the hunters get to try out a sample of the catch on an oatcake or two.
It’s then back to the pub for some music. All who take part are rewarded with a certificate.
Watch out for our live videos from the event on Facebook.