1st July 2015

Annual Clan Hay Gathering approaches

Clan Hay members after lunch at Delgatie Castle, the Clan Hay Centre

Clan Hay members after lunch at Delgatie Castle, the Clan Hay Centre

With exactly one month to go, the various events planned for the annual gathering of Clan Hay in Aberdeenshire are filling up fast.

Four days of events are planned, many of them offering unusual opportunities to enjoy access to historic properties that are not usually open to the public.

The weekend’s events will begin on Thursday 30th July with an inter-clan croquet tournament on the beautiful lawns of Crathes Castle, near Banchory on Royal Deeside.  Crathes is a wonderful example of an Aberdeenshire tower castle, historically the seat of the Burnetts of Leys, Chiefs of Clan Burnett, and situated in several acres of glorious garden grounds that are internationally renowned.  The event will be hosted by James Burnett of Leys and will include, for now, Clans Burnett, Irvine and Hay.

On Friday 31st July will take place the centrepiece event of this annual gathering weekend.  Part of the Clan Hay Society’s programme of Tartan Ties events, generously supported by Visit Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government, a formal dinner and ‘murder mystery’ event will take place at the historic Druminnor Castle, near Rhynie in Aberdeenshire,the 15th century home of Alex Forbes of Druminnor and the atmospheric house that was the original seat of the Chiefs of Clan Forbes.

On Saturday 1st August Clan Hay will gather at the Aboyne Highland Games, where the Clan Hay Society will dispense hospitality from its tent in the Clan Village alongside most of the other major Aberdeenshire clans.  The Aboyne Games is one of the biggest and longest running of the Highland Games, offering a chance to enjoy piping, dancing, athletics as well as the ‘heavy events’ for which Highland Games events are best known.  All Hays and those interested in Clan Hay, from wherever in the world you come, will be made welcome at the Clan Hay tent.

Slains Castle in its glory days in the early 2th century

Slains Castle in its glory days in the early 20th century

That evening, at the MacRobert Hall in the charming nearby village of Tarland on Donside, Clan Hay will hold a traditional ceilidh and supper event.  Live traditional music will be provided by Andy Linklater and Rob McCombie where you can dance the night away to all the traditional Scottish ceilidh dances.

On Sunday 2nd August, Clan Hay will meet for lunch at the Clan Hay Centre, Delgatie Castle, near Turriff in Aberdeenshire.  Delgatie has been owned by Hays and their connections for more than 600 years and can truly be described as the heart of the clan.  Delgatie’s chatelaine, Joan Johnson, can be relied upon to serve us an excellent lunch about 12.30, before and after which there will be an opportunity to explore the castle and its extensive grounds.

Finally, Clan Hay offers guided tours of the old and new Castles of Slains, situated on the spectacular Aberdeenshire coast and both now sadly in ruins, during Sunday afternoon.

For full details of these events, please click on the ’2015 Programme’ tab at the top of this page or contact Pam Rotheroe-Hay on


24th June 2015

Obituary: Bruce Alexander Hay of Hayfield


Bruce Hay of Hayfield 1

Bruce Hay of Hayfield (1952-2015)

Bruce died suddenly, aged 63, following a tragic accident at the end of April.

He was born in Bedford in January 1952 to Malcolm and Alison Hay.  When he was very young they  moved up to Aberdeenshire to live in Barra Castle, near to Malcolm’s elder brother Jock, who was at Delgatie  A few years later the family moved south, and Bruce lived nearly all his life in Surrey, Sussex and Oxfordshire.

Bruce had a degree in biology and taught for a short time at a boys’ school.  But he had two greater interests: one was property development, where he showed an early skill in managing and renovating a wide range of buildings in Southern England.  The other was politics – at 25 years old Bruce was elected in Petworth as the youngest county councillor in the UK, a position he held for eight years.  He also maintained a lively interest in the army, a career he would love to have pursued like his father, whom he greatly admired and respected.

In the 1980s he matriculated the family arms of Hay of Hayfield – he bore these arms with pride and dignity.  Since he never married and had no children, the Hayfield arms will now pass to his nephew.

A regular attendee at Aboyne and other Clan functions, Bruce maintained a friendly and independent spirit.  He was always amusing company, interested and interesting, and with a mischievous sense of humour.  He will be greatly missed.

22nd June 2015

Gordon Hay is Strichen Festival winner

Gordon Hay

Gordon Hay

Peterhead solicitor Gordon Hay, well known for his enthusiasm and expertise in the literature and Doric language of his native Aberdeenshire, won a series of stunning victories in a variety of the competitions held at the Strichen Festival last month.  The Buchan Heritage Festival, the annual celebration of the language, literature, music and folklore of North East Scotland, took place in the Aberdeenshire village of Strichen over the last weekend in May.

Competing in several of the festival’s categories, Gordon took a series of first prizes, winning the Diddlin and Story Telling competitions outright, and taking a joint first in the Poetry Reading with a fine rendition of Charles Murray’s It Wisna His Wyte.  For the Story Telling event, Gordon delighted his audience with a hilarious tale of his own making, about an Aberdeenshire farmer, unwillingly dragged by his wife to his first (and, one assumes, his last) visit to the opera, for a performance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.

Recently retired from the solicitors’ firm of Stewart and Watson, where he was Managing Partner for many years, Gordon is also an Elder of the Church of Scotland at his local parish church in Longside.  Several years ago, he hit the headlines when he completed the Herculean task of translating the bible into Doric.

The Clan Hay Society congratulates him on his success at the festival.