Selkirk Hill is well stocked ... it’s time for the annual haggis cull

It’s one of the strangest, yet most endearing days of the Borders calendar, as youngsters prepare to catch a wild haggis or three in order to feed their families.

Friday, 17th January 2020, 5:32 pm

It’s a well-kept secret that Selkirk Hill is a prime breeding ground for the great chieftain of the pudding race.

In fact, conditions are so perfect for the well-camouflaged beasts it is important to carry out an annual cull ... and the prized puddings will appear on the menu in many homes in and around the town.

Hunters, armed with the traditional haggis-hunting equipment (home-made bow and arrow, baggie net or big stick) will gather in Selkirk’s Market Place on Sunday morning.

To take part, they’ll have to register their names in the muster roll at the Town Arms pub, otherwise known as Haggis Central.

Any clothing is acceptable, as long as it’s warm and waterproof, although it is traditional to wear some kind of tartan.

The horn will be sounded at 11.02am sharp and the group will head up the hill, with a short pause at the Argus Centre, where the Haggis Polka is normally danced.

This year is no different, other than the fact that it is.

Sheila Sapkota, of Riddles Fiddles, who provide the music, said: “We are doing a Haggis Hooligan’s Polka this year.

“It’s basically into the middle and scream, into the middle and shout, ladies in middle, gents to middle and then face partner, but be a hooligan (jump, scream and shout), left for eight, right for eight into the middle and on we go.”

One of the organisers, Davie Scott, who won’t be able to get up the hill this year after losing an argument with a car at the top of West Port, said: “The various teams are in place and preparations are going well.

“There have been very favourable reports from the advance scouts and a good bag is expected.”

Once up the hill, the rules are read out and off they go.

The catch is counted, with some being cooked in situ at the Chinese Hut, and masterfully addressed using the medium of Burns’ famous poem, before heading back to the pub for a warm-up and refreshments.