All historical visitor attractions and hospitality venues have suffered grievously over the past year and Delgatie Castle, the Clan Hay Centre near the Aberdeenshire town of Turriff, has been no exception. The castle has been home to two branches of the Hay family for much of the last 650 years, now managed by a trust under the direction of Joan Johnson, created to look after the ancient building following the death of the last laird, Captain John Hay of Hayfield, in 1997.
It is not easy to make ends meet in these old buildings at the best of times and recent years have provided additional challenges. There are a number of holiday lets on the Delgatie estate, including two suites of rooms in the castle itself, which are available for visitors, and the rental income from these facilities is crucial to the castle's financial stability.
One of these has been difficult to let in recent times and has attracted a mixed bag of reviews online. Last month, UK television station Channel Four began a series entitled Hire My Home, where a team of professional interior designers are invited into such properties to overhaul these rooms with a view to attracting more visitors.
The suite at Delgatie was renovated by Glasgow designer Anna Campbell-Jones, who identified that the £2000 budget she was allowed could make a huge difference in making the rooms better reflect the castle's medieval splendour and it is hoped the transformation she achieved will make a difference to future bookings as we emerge from lockdown.
The programme can be seen on Channel Four's website (www.channel4.com) although it is unfortunate that the station's licensing arrangements mean it can only be viewed by viewers in the UK. However, if you are thinking of holidaying in Aberdeenshire this summer, please consider booking a few nights at Delgatie Castle in order to help this charming old Hay property survive and prosper: www.delgatiecastle.com