Inverugie, depicted here by Andrew Spratt, will feature in the ‘castles’ tour

For now, Clan Hay’s programme for its 2021 gathering is still in the calendar, although the Covid situation remains uncertain.  A final decision will be made on or before 1 May 2021 on whether it will proceed, and we urge members not to make any plans to travel to these events until that decision is announced.

As most will be aware, these plans have already been postponed from 2020, due to Covid 19.  For now, we are cautiously proceeding on the basis that this programme might be able to go ahead this year.  Visit Scotland, the government agency responsible for promoting Scotland as a tourist destination, has agreed that the grant funding, originally awarded in 2020, will be available in 2021.

Marshal James Keith, whose story will be told in the gathering’s ‘Jacobite’ theme

Visit Scotland’s theme for the year is ‘Coasts and Waterways,’ which is ideally suited to Clan Hay’s historic base on the Aberdeenshire coast.  The events will be based in the village of Cruden Bay, close by Slains Castle, for centuries the seat of the Earl of Erroll, Chief of Clan Hay.  The four-day programme will run from Friday 6 to Monday 9 August, and will take in the Aboyne Highland Games, the site of Clan Hay’s main annual gathering for the last forty years.

The programme is as follows:

Friday 6 August

10.00 am:        Exhibition opens in Cruden Bay village hall, until 6.00 pm

9.00 am and 1.00 pm: Bus tours: Castles of the Coast

11.00 am and 3.00 pm: Bus tours: The Jacobite Coast
8..00 am and 1.00 pm: Boat tours: The Smugglers’ Coast

12.00 midday: Guided Walk: The Sands of Forvie

6.00 pm: Lecture: Slains and the Hays of Erroll

8.00 pm: Welcome ceilidh: Music, dancing and stovie supper

The grave of the notorious Philip Kennedy in Slains churchyard. Smuggling on Hay lands is one of the main themes of the weekend

Saturday 7 August

Aboyne Highland Games, at Aboyne, Aberdeenshire: Clan Hay tent on the games field

10.00 am – 6.00 pm: Exhibition open in Cruden Bay village hall

9.00 am and 1.00 pm: Bus tours: Castles of the Coast

11.00 am and 3.00 pm: Bus tours: The Jacobite Coast

8.00 am and 1.00 pm: Boat tours: The Smugglers’ Coast

6.00 pm: Lecture: The Jacobite Coast

8.00 pm: Re-enactment of the Battle of Cruden

The remains of ‘New’ Slains Castle on the Aberdeenshire coast, where the gathering will be based

Sunday 8 August

10.00 am: Private guided visit to Turriff and District Heritage Museum, Turriff, Aberdeenshire

1200 midday: Clan Hay Lunch at the Clan Hay Centre: Delgatie Castle, Turriff,   Accompanied by archery and falconry demonstrations

10.00 am – 6.00 pm: Exhibition open in Cruden Bay village hall

9.00 am and 1.00 pm: bus tours: Castles of the Coast

11.00 am and 3.00 pm: bus tours: The Jacobite Coast

8.00 am and 1.00 pm: boat tours: The Smugglers’ Coast

3.00 pm: Guided visit to the old and new Castles of Slains

4.00 pm; Guided clifftop walk, Cruden Bay to Boddam, via Bullers o’ Buchan

7.00 pm: Lecture: The Smugglers’ Coast

Winter at Delgatie Castle, the Clan Hay Centre, scene of Clan Hay’s annual lunch party

Monday 9 August

10.00 am – 2.00 pm: Exhibition open in Cruden Bay village hall

9.00 am: Bus tour: Castles of the Coast

11.00 am: Bus tour: The Jacobite Coast

9.00 am: Boat tour: The Smugglers’ Coast

12.00 midday: Guided walk: The Loch of Strathbeg

3.00 pm: Farewell concert, featuring local music, song, story and poetry

The purpose of Visit Scotland’s funding is to bring together local communities with those visiting to attend clan gatherings, so all the events around Cruden Bay will also involve local people.

We particularly have overseas Hays in mind in formulating these plans.  The view of the Clan Hay Society’s office bearers is that we would not proceed with such an extensive programme if our overseas cousins were effectively prevented from taking part, either because of travel difficulties or due to severe restrictions here.  Visit Scotland has generously agreed that the funding for this programme may be carried forward to 2022 if necessary, although we are all hoping for a return to normality before this summer.

All members will be contacted in early May (at the latest) with a decision on whether to go ahead.  Regular updates will be posted on www.clanhay.org, where you can also register to receive regular updates on the programme for the weekend as it develops.