New Slains Castle in its glory days, when it inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula

As Covid continues to cast a long shadow over our lives, the Clan Hay Society has reluctantly, but perhaps inevitably, decided to cancel its ambitious plans for its 2021 Annual Gathering.  These events were originally scheduled for 2020, generously funded by Visit Scotland, the Scottish Government agency charged with promoting Scotland as a tourist destination.  The society is disappointed to have to cancel these plans for the second consecutive year, but the decision has become unavoidable as it becomes increasingly clear both travel and public gatherings will remain under restriction throughout this summer.  Both the Aboyne Highland Games and the Royal Braemar Gathering, where Clan Hay provides hospitality to Hays from near and far on an annual basis, have also been cancelled for this year.

Delgatie Castle, the Clan Hay Centre, seen from the air.

This decision has been taken in consultation with Visit Scotland, which has kindly agreed that the promised funding for these events will be carried forward to 2022.  We therefore look forward to running the full programme over the long weekend from Friday 5 to Monday 8 August 2022.  The full programme if published on www.clanhay.org, where you will also be able to register to receive regular updates on plans as they evolve.  Reflecting Visit Scotland’s theme for next year of Coasts and Waterways, this programme will be centred on the village of Cruden Bay on the Aberdeenshire coast, close by Slains Castle, which has been the principal seat of Clan Hay for more than 700 years.  Events will include bus and boat tours of local sites of interest, guided clifftop walks, Clan Hay’s annual hospitality tent at the Aboyne Highland Games on Royal Deeside, and our annual lunch at Delgatie Castle, the Clan Hay Centre near the town of Turriff.

Dr Joseph Morrow, the Lord Lyon King of Arms, at the opening of Scotland’s parliament. He is followed by the Duke of Hamilton carrying the crown of Scotland.

Recognising that the opportunities for face to face gatherings will be very limited for what remains of this year, Clan Hay has launched a new lecture series online, in which all members are invited to participate.  This series will begin on Thursday 5 May at 7.00 pm UK time.   The speaker will be Dr Joseph Morrow CBE, QC, FRSE, the Right Honourable the Lord Lyon King of Arms, who will speak on The Court of the Lord Lyon.  The Chief, the Earl of Erroll, will chair this meeting, which will take place via Zoom.  Email Alan Hay, the Clan Hay Archivist, on alan.hay@carreraslathane.com for a link to join the lecture.  We are very grateful to the Lord Lyon for agreeing to be the inaugural speaker.

The following lecture will be on Saturday 5 June and will be given by Burgess Hay, of Burgess Bagpipes in Forres.  This informal session is entitled Meet the Bagpipe Maker and we thank Burgess for giving of his time and knowledge.  Further lectures will be announced in the next few weeks.