Home of Robert Burns hosts world haggis hurling event

The World Championships of haggis hurling was held on Sunday at the 18th century home of Robert Burns.

Haggis Hurling Championship at Robert Burns Ellisland Farm Heritage Centre, Dumfries.

A prize of a year’s supply of haggis was on offer to anyone who could surpass the current world record but no one was successful.

The present World Record for Haggis Hurling was set at 217 feet by Lorne Coltart at the Milngavie Highland Games on 11 June, 2011, beating Allan Pettigrew’s 180ft record which had stood for over 20 years.

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Modern Haggis Hurling is judged on the basis of distance and accuracy of the hurl.

Any split or burst haggis is immediately disqualified, as the haggis must be fit to eat after landing.

There were 83 contestants who entered the event with the age range from as low as four-years-old up to 75-years-old.

For the past five years the contest was held in the bard’s hometown of Alloway, South Ayrshire, but this year it was moved to Ellisland Farm, Dumfries and Galloway.

This is the site where two of Robert Burns’ children were born and where he got married.

It is also where he wrote Auld Lang Syne, Tam O’Shanter and Ae Fond Kiss.

Stuart Cochrane organised the event which used 20 haggis in the competition from local butchers Mogerlys of Dumfries.

He said: “It brings back an old Scottish custom that hasn’t been seen since about 1700 and then having a fun contest out in the fresh air and adding it in with Burns season and it’s just great fun.

“I had a shot, I thought it was only fair, and my throw managed to reach 136 feet which I thought was very good but I have been doing this since 2009.

“I’ve ran every other championship going to try and beat the world record.

“You have to have a very good sense of balance and be able to pivot quite far so that when you swing your hips and release then it’s got the most momentum.

“You want the haggis to skim through the air rather than skim to prevent it from splitting on the ground.”

The winner on the day was Josh Noel who threw at a distance of 145ft.