Annual Clan Hay Gathering Approaches

Dancers in 'Aboyne Dress' prepare to compete

The annual gathering of the Clan Hay, which takes place over the first weekend of every August, is nearly upon us and in 2012 we have more activities arranged than ever.

The events will begin with the Aboyne Highland Games, in Aberdeenshire on Royal Deeside, on Saturday 4th August.  Taking our place in the Clan Village on the games field alongside many of the other major Aberdeenshire families, our hospitality tent will be operational from 10.00 am and will dispense food, drink and conversation throughout the day.

This traditional highland games is one of the highlights of the annual games calendar and visitors can experience piping cometitions (for both individuals and bands), dancing, athletics and, of course, the 'heavy' events with which Scottish games are synonymous, including tossing the caber, throwing the hammer, shot putting and much more.

Events will continue on Aboyne Green until about 4.00 pm.

That evening we will be hosting a ceilidh (an evening of Scottish dancing, music and entertainment, including supper) in the community hall of the nearby village of Crathes in conjunction with several other clans including the Leasks and the Burnetts.  Tickets are a bargain at £15.00.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the country, Alick and Aline Hay of Duns will be hosting the annual Berwickshire Show in the grounds of Duns Castle, an event that will be attended by Border Hays and also by a large group from the continental European branch of Clan Hay, led by the Clan Hay Society's convenor for continental Europe, Tom Hye.  This will include a formal dinner in the castle on the evening of Saturday 4th August when a brief ceremony will be held to mark the twinning of Duns Castle with Castle Ooidonk in Belgium, involving the owners of the two properties, Alick Hay of Duns and Count Juan t'Kint de Roodenbeke.

The clifftop ruins of Slains Castle, which we will tour on Sunday afternoon

Sunday 5th August is the first day of the Turriff Show near to the Clan Hay centre of Delgatie Castle and some members will take in the show on the way to the annual Clan Hay lunch at Delgatie which begins at 12.30 pm, where we will be joined by our European members who are making their way from Duns during Sunday morning.  The lunch at the castle costs £20.00 per head and will include an opportunity to explore the castle and its extensive estate, which includes farmland, woodland walks and a fishing lake.

On Sunday afternoon, Clan Hay members will travel to Collieston on the Aberdeenshire coast where a guided tour of the two castles of Slains, between them the seat of the Earls of Erroll for nearly 700 years, conducted by Clan Hay archivist Alan Hay.  The final event of the evening will be a traditional Aberdeenshire 'Bothy Nicht' at the harbour of the nearby village of Cruden Bay.  This is an event organised by the Cruden Bay community to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of the Battle of Cruden where Clan Hay Society members have been invited to participate at a special price.

For full details of all the weekend's activities, please contact our treasurer, Pam Rotheroe-Hay, on