ORGANISERS of the annual Haggis Hunt in Selkirk decided it would not take place this year.

The event, which usually takes place on the Sunday before Burns Night, has not been held since 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sharing to social media, David Scott, assistant head haggis hunter, said: "It is with great regret that the Great Selkirk Haggis Hunt will not be taking place this year for the following reasons."

He continued: "The Haggis hunt was started as a fun thing by a group of people from the Town Arms in Selkirk.

"The whole idea was a way of brightening up the miserable month of January.

"This was to be an unofficial limited structural event with very little organisation.

"Over the years more and more people joined in the celebrations because they found it enjoyable.

"As the number of participants grew the loose organisation also had to grow to ensure there were responsible people to cover the various “teams” that allowed the Hunt to take place.

"Local businesses were approached to support the Hunt and it moved from a pub outing to a community event for the whole town with the development of specific rituals such as addressing and toasting the haggis on Selkirk Hill, dancing the Haggis Polka outside the Argos Community Centre, and starting with a stirrup cup in the Market Place before setting off.

"Each year the hunt was led off by the Toon Airms Band preceded by a special escort vehicle such as a police car, fire engine and tri-shaw on different occasions.

"All this was achieved by the community coming together to ensure the success of the Hunt at no cost to the participants, but still with the air of unofficialdom and loose organisation."

However, Mr Scott explained, as the event grew in size and popularity, financial difficulties for businesses and the loss of organisers over the last three years, he felt too much had changed from the original idea.

He said: "Since the pandemic things have changed: businesses have found it more difficult in general; there has been a reluctance to ask for financial sponsorship from local businesses (although several businesses have offered support); the community of the Town Arms has not recovered to the same extent as before lock down etc.

"Of the four original organisers, Bob Burgess, Jimmy Linton, Martin Turnbull and myself, I am the only one left alive, and other people have fallen sick and are unable to participate in the same way as before.

"It is now too late to organise for 2023.

"Assistance has been offered by the community council with a later date in February, a change in location to The Haining, the signing in and issuing of wrist bands to children, and the introduction of Haggis substitutes to be hunted then exchanged for real haggis with the introduction of a charge of £3 per child.

"Whilst the hunt organisers are very grateful for the help offered, it is felt that such changes are too far a departure from the original idea of the Great Selkirk Haggis Hunt are too far to be acceptable.

"Consequentially, the Hunt under its original format will not take place in 2023."

In 2022 the Haggis Hunt was marked by a procession from the Market Place along the route to Selkirk Hill before returning to the Town Arms for a toast.