Clan Hay Tour and Annual Gathering (continued….)

by Pam Rotheroe-Hay

The last evening at Duns Castle

Saying our farewells to Aline and Alick at Duns Castle, we travelled north to the Sancta Maria Abbey, Nunraw where Brother Raymond escorted us on tour of the building, detailing for us the history of the building and pointing out the painted ceiling in the chapel. Links to Clan Hay were explained and we spent some time viewing the building and splendid, ancient doocot.

Lunch was enjoyed at the Tweeddale Arms in Gifford before continuing northwards to Edinburgh.

At Edinburgh Castle we were greeted by Major Robin Maclean who, when we had viewed the exhibition, explained links between the Scots Greys and numerous Hays. In particular Lord John Hay was mentioned as a member of whom the regiment is especially proud.

Angus and Pam lead the dancing at the ceilidh

The evening was spent relaxing prior to our next journey to Perthshire.

Arriving in Errol we made our way to the Motte. This is where the first Hay castle was sited and remains the property of the Chief to this day.
Although somewhat overgrown, we managed to gain access to the site and clambered up the motte to the stone cross which sits upon it. Jonathan Sayers gave a facinating explanation of motte and bailey castles as we explored the site.

From the Motte, we set out to see the Hawkstane, the stone on which  the hawk alighted determining the extent of the land given to the farmer in the Luncarty legend. As it is now in the garden of an occupied cottage, we requested permission to view it. This was readily granted and the householder pointed out an inscription on the stone.

Alf and Skip Hay at the ceilidh dance

From Errol was found ourselves on the road to Megginch Castle. A closed road meant a diversion which set us upon a single track road. As we were travelling in convoy, a lookout was kept for stragglers. On realising that we were missing one car a search ensued only to find that the last car had moved to the side of the road to let a car pass. Unfortunately, the grass verge was not as solid as it appeared and the car slid down into a ditch. Our luck was not all bad though and the next vehicle along the road was a truck with a crane! The driver came to the rescue and used it to pull the entrenched vehicle back onto the road.

On to Megginch Castle where we were treated to a tour of Castle and gardens. The parts built by Peter Hay of Megginch were pointed out as were the garden developments which he made.

The massed bands at the Aboyne Games

A late lunch at the Meikelour Arms was enjoyed before setting out for Aberdeenshire.

On Friday evening, a small number of the group took advantage of a dance practice arranged by Jamie Burnett in readiness for the ceilidh the following evening.

Saturday and the Aboyne Highland Games saw the Clan Hay tent playing host to over 50 Hays. We were delighted to be joined by 17 members from Norway! Blessed as we were with sunshine for almost all of our tour, Saturday proved to be very windy and we were, at times, concerned that the tent may take flight. A range of new materials were displayed in the clan tent and people took advantage of the opportunity to purchase clan tartan, car stickers, sashes and the new, silver, ox yoke kilt pins.

Debbie and Angus dancing at Crathes

The ceilidh on Saturday evening was hosted by Clan Burnett and a splendid meal was enjoyed. Over 150 people attended and the dance floor was full all evening. Even those who had never tried Scottish Dancing before had a go and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Pictures of the dancers were appearing on Facebook even before the evening was over.

On Sunday we arrived at Delgatie early so that people could explore the castle before lunch. There is so much to see there that people were glad of the early start.
Joan made us very welcome as she always does and set before us a lunch fit for a king. After lunch Alan Hay treated us to a facinating explanation of heraldry and explained how some of the Arms, displayed on the ceiling at Delgatie, were created.

Following lunch, we progressed to Old Slains Castle. Always a place of interest to clan members, it was enhanced this time be a new discovery exposed by a landslide in the winter storms. Alan Hay's wealth of knowledge of the castle and its history was appreciated as he guided us around the remains.

The walk to New Slains was made easier that in the past due to a gravel path having been laid from Cruden Bay to the ruins. Alan Hay explained the layout of the castle and details of its history to an appreciative audience.

This completed our tour and I would like to express my sincere thanks to Angus Hay for his help, support, advice, guidance and his most excellent talks about the Battle of Flodden, Clan Hay and tartan, given at Duns Castle.

I would also like to thank Alan Hay for his help, support and explanations on Sunday.

My thanks also to Aline and Alick Hay at Duns Castle for taking such good care of us and making us so welcome.

Finally, I would like to thank the Chief for his help in locating venues and for his support.