Haggis Hurling

Haggis hurling is a Scottish sport that involves hurling of a haggis as far as possible for distance and accuracy from atop a platform. A haggis is a flavorful pudding that contains sheep’s pluck; heart, liver, lungs; onions, suet, oatmeal, spices, salt; mixed with stock and cooked and simmered inside the animal’s stomach for three hours. With that description you would expect that after eating it there would be more hurling.

Haggis hurling has spread from Scotland, and has become popular in some countries over the years such as Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

The Scots believe that haggis hurling was a traditional Scottish sport with an ancient origin. But the commonly acknowledged story of the sport is that a wife was preparing a haggis for her husband’s lunch while he was out working in the fields. She would have to walk and cross a lot of rivers and swamps before reaching her husband, which was a waste of time. So instead of walking and to save time, the wife would just toss the cooked haggis over the obstacle to her husband. He would have to catch it with the front apron of his kilt.

The sport was invented initially as a joke by Robin Dunseath in 1977 for the Gathering of the Clans in Edinburgh. He placed an advertisement in a Scottish newspaper wanting to revive the ancient Scottish sport of haggis hurling. After the advertisement was published, many people wanted to participate. It was then used to raise some funds of a charity during Highland Games. Dunseath continued to be the president of the World Haggis Hurling Association for 20 years. He sends out certificates to the champion hurlers and completed a book entitled Complete Haggis Hurler. In 2004, he admitted that the sport was supposed to be a joke and all proceeds and sales of the book he wrote has gone to charities.

Two variations of haggis hurling has been developed – one is performed at festivals and the other as a professional sport.

For the game, the haggis must be made traditionally. Before it starts, the haggis will be cooled and inspected making sure that it was traditionally made and no firming substances were added. The sporting haggis weighs 500 grams, 18 cm diameter and 22 cm length. There is always a ± 30 grams for both junior and middle weight events. In the heavyweight event, the haggis is 1 kg in weight, standard 850 grams and ±50-gram allowance.

The world record for haggis hurling was measured at 217 feet (66 meters) by Lorne Coltart on 11th June 2011. The hurl exceeded the previous record of 55 m in 1984 by Alan Pettigrew.

Related Pages