The Annual Gathering of Clan Hay will take place during the first week of August in the family’s Aberdeenshire heartland.
Events will begin on the afternoon of Friday 2nd August with a croquet tournament in the magnificent gardens of Crathes Castle, the ancient seat of Clan Burnett. This will be followed by supper at The Cowshed restaurant in nearby Banchory.
Saturday 3rd August will see the Aboyne Highland Games, the centrepiece of Clan Hay’s activities over this extended weekend. Aboyne is one of the major events of the Highland Games circuit and contains a ‘Clan Village’ where we will take our place with the other major clans of the area, including the Burnetts, Camerons, Farquharsons, Forbeses, Frasers, Gordons, Irvines, Leasks and Leslies. Hospitality will be dispensed from our tent there to visiting Hays from all over the world, where our Chief, the Earl of Erroll, will be on hand to welcome guests, along with his Countess and his son and heir, Lord Hay and his wife, Lady Hay.
On Sunday 4th August we will foregather at Delgatie Castle near Turriff, the Clan Hay Centre, for lunch, meeting at midday, allowing time to explore the castle either before or after lunch. Delgatie has been in the Hay family for nearly all of the last 600 years, originally coming to the family with the marriage of Sir Alexander Hay of Ardengraught to the Fraser heiress of Delgatie in the early 15th century.
After lunch, we will depart in convoy for Slains Castle, at Collieston on the Aberdeenshire coast, to view the ruin of the seat of the Earl of Erroll, blown up by King James VI when Erroll led a Catholic rebellion against the Reformation in 1594. Finally, we will travel four miles up the coast to the ‘new’ castle of Slains, built in 1597, which remained the seat of the Earl of Erroll until 1916 when financial uncertainty forced its sale. After exploring the ruins, we will adjourn to the Kilmarnock Arms Hotel in Cruden Bay for supper, so named in the 19th century inhonour of the future 20th Earl of Erroll, in the days when the heirs to the earldom were titled Lord Kilmarnock.
On Tuesday 6th August we will take part in ‘Tartan on the Green’, organised by the Clan Hay Society and funded by Visit Scotland, the government agency charged with promoting Scotland as a tourist destination. This will take place on the green in the Deeside village of Ballater, close by Balmoral Castle, and will feature many local clans and other cultural or heritage based organisations.
All Hays are welcome at any, or indeed all, of these events.