According to a report published on Wikipedia, which may well be false (but which I’m going to quote anyway), one in three Americans believe that a haggis is a small furry animal with legs that are longer on one side of their body than the other, a characteristic which makes them harder to catch – as they can run faster along the side of a hill.
This is clearly ridiculous – the legs of a haggis are just like those of a horse, four-square and even all round. After all, if haggis were so difficult to catch, how come there are so many of them available in the butchers’ shops of Kelso’s award winning square? And if not a small furry animal, what on earth do the other 66% of Americans think a haggis is? Some sort of offal-based oatmeal confection stuffed into a sheep’s stomach?
Years of careful vigilance and strict pest control have kept the track at Kelso Racecourse free from haggis, although they are easy enough to find pretty much everywhere else at this time of year. Which is why haggis, neeps and tatties has become such a popular feature on the menu for Burns Night, celebrated throughout Scotland on or around 25th January. Kelso racegoers on Monday will be able to enjoy haggis-filled Kelsae Yorkies while watching the horses from the Parade Ring steps – delicious hot haggis and roast vegetables wrapped in a warm Yorkshire pudding, courtesy of The Juicy Meat Company.
And any visitors wishing to take a haggis home with them will be directed to Kelso Square, which scooped the UK’s ‘Rising Star’ Award at the Great British High Street Awards – presented in Edinburgh this week. Kelso beat towns located in England, Northern Ireland and Wales to a £15,000 prize (sponsored by the Government) intended to reward towns for demonstrating innovation and community engagement.
Less than a mile from the racecourse, Kelso Square offers an eclectic mix of independent retailers in charmingly cobbled surroundings. Vimto bonbons, tweed jackets, Dubarry boots, beeswax candles and locally brewed ale – whatever you’re looking for, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find it in Kelso Square.
There’s even a betting shop, a lone Ladbrokes, where you can back If The Cap Fits (this week’s selection) who risks becoming one of the least popular horses in training if he beats the wonderful Paisley Park in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday.
While readers of this blog might believe that Kelso races is the only event in town, a quick search of VisitKelso.com will quickly dispel that notion. From markets to music, running to walking and films to folk-dance, the Kelso calendar is packed all year.
The site also offers a glimpse of the shopping opportunities available in the square, plus advice for visitors seeking overnight accommodation. Book your overnight stay now and don’t forget to ask about the haggis-hunting…