The Royal Braemar Gathering took place as always on the first Saturday in September, the last and the grandest of the many events on the Highland Games circuit.
This is the second time Clan Hay has been present at this iconic event. Unlike most Games, where stalls and hospitality tents are a key feature, Braemar is much more selective on this front. External exhibitors are kept to a minimum and commercial suppliers are excluded altogether, so it was a very much more select group that we joined in the overseas tent on Saturday 7 September. We were one of 10 taking part, in a group that also included Clans Chattan, MacRae, Anderson and Fraser, together with Clan Farquharson, whose local territory Braemar is. Also with us were the Ballater Victoria Week charity, the local Rotary Club, the Aberdeen and North East Scotland Family History Society and the Royal Celtic Society.
It was a sunny summer’s day, which contributed to the very large turnout and kept us busy throughout the day with visitors from home and abroad. As always, the guests of honour were Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay, who presented many of the prizes to heavy and light athletes, dancers and pipers. The Queen, like all sovereigns since her great, great grandmother, Queen Victoria, is Patron of the Braemar Royal Highland Charity, which organises the games. Also present were Vice Patrons, Captain Farquharson of Invercauld, now 100 years old and as sprightly as ever, and the Duke of Fife.
The Clan Hay’s booth was manned by Jane MacRae and Ralph Rotheroe; also in evidence when time permitted was Pam Rotheroe-Hay, although she was also occupied piping with the local Ballater Pipe Band. All three did a great job of hosting a large number of visitors and presided over a roaring trade in Clan Hay merchandise.
Next year’s event will take place on Saturday 5 September.