SELKIRK’S haggis hunters battled through blizzards on Sunday to land another spectacular catch.

Drifts up to three feet didn’t deter close to 400 hardy souls from descending on Selkirk Hill for the annual puddin’ pilgrimage.

And, despite last year’s record catch, a similar number of the illusive creatures were netted, snared and bagged during the weekend’s freezing foray.

Dave Scott from the organising committee was thrilled with the turn out yet again.

He said: “The Great Haggis Hunt wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of many people and businesses.

“It is worth all of the effort every year when you see how many people of all ages come out and take part.”

Since its early days the hunt organisers have dealt with saboteurs, the foot and mouth epidemic and even secret government proposals for a ban.

But, squirrelled away in their Town’s Arms headquarters, they have turned the tide of public opinion with more and more families joining in each year to help fill the pot ahead of the Rabbie Burns celebrations.

And the success of the Selkirk event has sparked interest from other Bard-loving hamlets across Scotland.

Mr Scott added: “The popularity of the hunt has never waned.

“We weren’t sure what to expect this year with the weather we’ve had and we know of a few people who didn’t make it because of the roads, but haggis hunters are a hardy bunch as we’ve seen today.

“We’ve had a few enquiries from Burns groups across the country about hunts being introduced to their communities.

“We’ve been passing on some of our secrets on maintaining breeding grounds so there’s every chance you’ll be hearing about other haggis hunts in the years to come.

“We’re just proud that we’ve kept this ancient tradition alive.”

Despite sub-zero temperatures and deep snow, numbers were close to record levels as the horn was sounded just before noon.

The procession of hunters had been marched from the historic Market Place.

And almost all of the armed hunters took part in the traditional Haggis Polka at the Argus Centre, with the toe-tapping music provided by the Riddell Fiddles, in a superstitious bid to bring them luck during the hunt.

Matthew Burgess yet again filled the boots of his late father, Bob, in acting as dance caller and later as whisky toast-master at the Chinese Hut.

And yet again Louise Stephen, mine host of the Town’s Arms, made sure the hunters’ glasses never ran dry with regular pre- and post-hunt top ups.

Catch after catch was landed throughout the hour-long frenzy by baggy-netted hunters.

As well as going home with handfuls of haggis, this year’s young hunters were also presented with certificates and commemorative badges.