High alert over Hill haggis poachers

Selkirk, UNITED KINGDOM. - 20 Jan 2013 : 'Selkirk Haggis Hunt'Caption:''''(Photo by  Rob Gray / freelance / � 2013)

Selkirk, UNITED KINGDOM. - 20 Jan 2013 : 'Selkirk Haggis Hunt'Caption:''''(Photo by Rob Gray / freelance / � 2013)

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Poachers are reported to have been spotted on The Hill just days before The Great Selkirk Haggis Hunt takes place on Sunday.

Organisers of the Town Arms event met on Wednesday to discuss what they described as troublesome news. Now, following a hastily-arranged scouting mission, additional security measures have been put in place.

Assistant head haggis hunter Davie Scott told The Wee Paper: “There is haggi aplenty on The Hill. They survived the storms, and the good weather that prevailed during the breeding and growing season has led to what we believe are records numbers of healthy beasts.

“It was with great disappointment that we received information that poachers had been spotted. The Great Selkirk Haggis Hunt is a fantastic family occasion and we are determined that it will not be spoiled by a few rogues.

“We have put extra measures in place, following consultation with security boss Commander Beechy Grieve, but for obvious reasons we are not revealing what these measures are.

“Poachers have been a problem in the past, but not in recent years, so we believe this is a new breed and not the a return of the old brigade.

“I would like to stress that The Great Selkirk Haggis Hunt goes ahead as planned on Sunday (January 19), beginning in the Market Place at exactly 11.02am.

“It does not seem likely that the Town Hall clock is going to be repaired in time, but we will be setting our watches by Big Ben and the Speaking Clock to ensure the proper timetable is adhered to.

“That’s very important on an occasion such as this.”

In its early days the hunt was plagued by sabs, but many were won over and are now keen supporters. Some of the old poachers are also now hunt supporters.

The haggi this year have been bred by local butchers Watters and Halliwells, as well as Grieve of Hawick. Others have also been nourished and bred by supermarket Sainsbury’s.

The hunt opens with a proclamation and stirrup cup. Baggie nets and home-made bows and arrows are the preferred weapons, although cricket bats are now also permitted.

A piper will lead the hunters to The Hill. A stop will be made at the Argus Centre where Riddell Fiddles will provide music for the dancing of the specially-arranged Haggis Polka. Once the captured chieftains have been counted, a few will be cooked after they have been addressed by a member of the hunt organisers.

All hunters receive certificates and there will be music later in the Town Arms.

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