Summer Activity Programme Announced

The Clan Hay Society has announced details of an action packed programme of activites in Scotland this summer.  Centred on the clan's Aberdeenshire heartland, these events will, we believe, provide something for everyone.

Members at the Clan Hay tent at Aboyne in 2010

The main annual gathering of Clan Hay will, as usual, take place at the Aboyne Highland Games in Aberdeenshire on Saturday 6th August.  The clan will maintain a hospitality tent on the games field, open from 11.00 am to around 4.00 pm, where we will take our place in the Clan Village with the other Aberdeenshire clans present, including the Gordons, Irvines, Leasks, Farquharsons, Burnetts, Frasers and Forbeses. 

Activity begins on the games field from about 8.00 am with an official opening by the hereditary Chieftain of the games, the Marquis of Huntly, also Chief of the name of Gordon, scheduled for 12.30 pm.  Aboyne is one of the highlights of the anual highland games calendar where visitors from overseas can get a true picture of this very traditional Scottish event.  The activities include piping and pipe band competitions, highland dancing, athletics and the traditional Scottish 'heavy' events, including tossing the caber.

Hays at the annual lunch at Delgatie Castle in 2010

We hope to organise a ceilidh dance after the games on the evening of 6th August.  This is dependant on the amount of interest shown, so if you plan to come the the games and would be interested in attending such an event in the evening, please let Malcolm Hay know on

The annual gathering weekend will be completed with a lunch at the Clan Hay Centre, Delgatie Castle near Turriff in Aberdeenshire on the following day, Sunday 7th August.  Delgatie is one of the finest surviving examples of a Scottish tower house and has been in Hay hands for most of the past 700 years.  Lunch will be provided by Mrs Joan Johnson, the castle's custodian, and will be followed by an opportunity to explore the castle and its extensive gardens and grounds.

The Battle of Harlaw

The fortnight prior to our annual gathering will see extensive celebrations in Aberdeen to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Harlaw.  This is one of the major battles of Scottish history, where an army of invading

Monument to the battle, built on its 500th anniversary

highlanders was successfully prevented from sacking the greatest city in the north.  As one of the major families of north east Scotland, the Hays will be taking part in these events and we hope that members from across the world will be able to join in the fun.  Appropriately, the celebrations will include not only the clans of the north east involved in defending Aberdeen, but also those from the highlands who fought on the other side, including the Macdonalds, the Macintoshes and the Macleans.

These celebrations will begin on Sunday 24th July, the actual anniversary of the battle, with a commemoration service in St Nicholas Church in Aberdeen, after which the focus of activity will shift to the battlefield itself, some 10 miles west of the city, where a commemoration will take place at the monument marking the site.

The following evening, Monday 25th July, will see the premiere of Red Harlaw, a play written and directed by Mike Gibb and commissioned by Aberdeen City Council to commemorate this anniversary.  On Wednesday 27th July, Aberdeen's Duthie Park will host an evening event entitled Harlaw 1411 which will include a recreation of life 600 years ago, including stalls, drama, marquees, and a spectacular re-enactment of the battle including knights on horseback.

Young member Jenny Hay at the monument to Sir Gilbert de Greenlaw, killed at Harlaw in 1411.

This programme, celebrating one of the salient events in north east Scotland's history, will come to a climax on Saturday 30th July with Aberdeen's annual 'Tartan Day' which will include extensive displays on the battle and a large scale parade led by the massed bands of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.

The Battle of Harlaw has great significance in the wider field of Scottish history.  Fought ostensibly over the succession to the ancient earldom of Ross, it was in reality the climax of a long struggle between the highlands and the lowlands.  There was a very real prospect that the city of Aberdeen might fall victim to the depradations of the highlanders.  The victory for the men of Aberdeenshire marked the end of the highlands as an effective influence in the Scottish political scene and never again were the highlands to constitute a serious threat to lowland supremacy or Scottish political stability.

These will be two weeks of great activities for Hays from across the world.  Both weekends promise to be full of action and will provide great opportunities for Hays from Scotland, Europe, the United States, Canada and Australsia to get together and share their common heritage and interests.  Full information from Malcolm Hay on