by Pam Rotheroe-Hay
The Clan Hay's visit to the battlefield of Flodden yesterday found conditions reminiscent of the time of the battle 500 years ago! Having set out from Duns Castle in brilliant sunshine, the sky darkened and just as the piper, Ollie Farr, began to play, the heavens opened.
Undeterred, we made our way a little further along the road and set off to follow the Flodden Trail. Ably supported by Angus Hay's knowledge of the events and positions of the the troops on both sides, it became clear how the Scottish soldiers became mired (literally) in difficulties.
Following our visit to the battlefield we made our way to the Collingwood Arms for lunch. The food was superb and the staff delightful.
Suitably replenished, our next stop was Etal Castle. Although close to the site of the battlefield, Etal Castle and its estate was, for several generations, the property of the Earls of Erroll, Chiefs of Clan Hay. The 15th Earl of Erroll married Isabella Carr, the daughter and heiress of Sir William Carr who owned the Etal estate. The property remained in the hands of the Hay Chiefs until the turn of the time of the 20th earl, at the turn of the 20th century. An exhibition at Etal Castle about the Battle of Flodden reinforced what we had learned from Angus during our earlier tour.
The evening saw us gathered back at Duns Castle for a superb black tie dinner, ably provided by Aline Hay. The piper piped us in to dinner and a wonderful evening ensued.
We concluded with thoughts on the battle and the day's experiences from a number of the group and it was fascinating to hear people's viewpoints on these events of long ago.