Clan Hay Tour and Annual Gathering

Duns Castle

There is still time to book for the Clan Hay tour and annual gathering, which will begin three weeks from today.

More than 50 members of Clan Hay from all over the world have already booked for this extended annual gathering weekend, designed to take account of the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden, Scotland's greatest defeat and the Clan Hay's greatest historical tragedy.

Although activities will take place throughout the week from Monday 29 July until Sunday 4th August, the tour has been conceived in such a way that Clan Hay members can join for individual activities if they are unable to attend the full programme.

The beginning of the week sees us at Duns Castle in Berwickshire, the seat of our Chieftain, Alexander Hay of Duns and Drumelzier.  The castle has its origins in the 14th century but was substantially extended by James Gillespie Graham, one of the best known exponents of the Scottish Baronial school of architecture.

The programme kicks off with a buffet supper in the castle hosted by Alick and Aline Hay of Duns on Monday 29th July, an ideal opportunity for Clan Hay members to get to know each other.  The following day, noted military historian Angus Hay will lead Clan Hay on a guided tour of the battlefield of Flodden.  This will be followed by a visit to nearby Etal Castle, which was owned for several generations by the Earls of Erroll, Chiefs of Clan Hay, after it came into the family with the inheritance of Isabella Carr of Etal, wife of the 15th earl.  Following these activities, Hays will return to Duns for a formal dinner in the castle.

Table laid for dinner, Neidpath

Wednesday 31st July will begin with a visit to Neidpath Castle, one of the best surviving examples of a border tower house.  Neidpath came to the Hays when the lands of Sir Simon Fraser of Oliver (a hero of the Wars of Independence, brutally murdered by the English in 1306) were inherited by the Hays of Yester.  The Neidpath tour will be followed by a visit to the magnificent Floors Castle, the home of the Duke of Roxburghe and the largest private house in Scotland.

Thursday 1st August will see a trip to Nunraw Castle, the seat of a branch of the Hays of Yester and now an abbey of the Cistercian Order.  From there, we will progress to lunch in the delightful village of Gifford in East Lothian, close by the historic Yester House, before travelling to Edinburgh where Hays will have an opportunity to explore the city.  A guided tour of Edinburgh Castle is included in the programme.

Friday 2nd August will be spent exploring the earliest origins of Clan Hay in Perthshire, with visits to Megginch Castle, seat of the Hays of Megginch, and the Mott of Erroll, the site of the original castle of the very first Hays in Scotland.

Megginch Castle

Saturday 3rd August will see us at the Aboyne Highland Games in Aberdeenshire where Clan Hay will have a hospitality tent in the clan village, taking our place with many of the other local clans of North East Scotland, including Clans Burnett, Leask, Irvine, Forbes, Farquharson, Leslie, Gordon and Fraser.  The day will be rounded off with a ceilidh we are sharing with Clan Burnett in nearby Crathes Village Hall.

On Sunday 4th August we will travel to the Clan Hay Centre, Delgatie Castle near Turriff, for our annual lunch party there, followed by guided tours of the two Castles of Slains on the Aberdeenshire coast, for centuries the seat of the Chiefs of Clan Hay.

A week of hectic activity will end on Monday 5th August with a visit to the historic Blairs College Museum in Aberdeen, a former Catholic seminary with which George Hay, Bishop of Aberdeen, was closely associated, and which contains an eclectic collection of artefacts associated with our history, including a very rare portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Further information from our treasurer, Pam Rotheroe-Hay, on