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Special Events

Art Amatoria – Course

Improve your technique and learn new skills with an art course at Duns Castle. We hold painting and drawing weekends at the castle several times a year with the next one taking place on 18th/19th April 2015. Taught by experienced artist Claudia Petretti the courses are suitable for complete beginners as well as those with some experience and involve plenty of individual tuition. For more details please go to

Art Amatoria – Exhibition

Borders Artists at Duns Castle, an exhibition devoted to paintings and sculpture by local artists, takes place each Spring. This year’s exhibition runs from 17th to 26th April 2015 and is open 11am to 4pm, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with mid-week viewing by appointment. More information may be found on

Berwickshire County Show

Farming tradition in the borders is celebrated with the Berwickshire County Show, which takes place every year in the grounds of Duns Castle. Promoting agriculture and the advancement of farming practices and animal husbandry, the show is a great fun family event with a wonderful atmosphere to enchant children and adults alike.

Clan Hay Events

Tartan Ties: the Clan Hay Tour, 28th July – 2nd August 2015

This year I am once again organising a Clan Hay tour which will be entitled Tartan Ties and include new features. This is an exceptional opportunity not only to meet other Hays but to visit many places of significance to our clan.

The tour starts with a three night stay in Duns Castle. Duns is in a unique location in the Scottish Borders on the outskirts of the small market town that gives the castle its name. This wonderfully peaceful castle has been in the Hay family since 1696. Staying in a real Scottish Castle which retains most of its original features and hosting a traditional Scottish dinner is an exciting way to begin but I am also including a Murder Mystery Evening at the castle and a demonstration of Scottish dancing. This is a black tie/tartan event.

Whilst staying at Duns talks will be given on Clan Hay and on the Battle of Flodden by Angus Hay, a celebrated military historian. We will visit the Flodden battlefield where over 80 Hays died with King James IV and the clan was almost wiped out. We will have lunch in a nearby inn and then go on to visit Neidpath Castle, which was built by Sir William Hay of Locherworth and was owned by the Hays for over 300 years. We will also be paying a visit to the magnificent Manderston House where we will have lunch, before going on to Ladykirk Stables which is not open to the public.

Moving north, we will visit Borthwick Castle on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Although the present structure was built in 1430 by Sir William de Borthwick who was granted a Royal Charter by King James I, it stands on the site of the original Mott of Locherworth and so is one of the earliest sites associated with Clan Hay. Once the refuge of Mary, Queen of Scots and the Earl of Bothwell, it was besieged by Oliver Cromwell in 1650, the damage from which can still be seen today. James, seventh Lord Borthwick, married Mary Hay, daughter of William, fifth Lord Hay of Yester.

From Borthwick we will continue to Errol where we will visit the Hawkstane and the Errol Mott, where the first Hay castle stood. Our final visit for the day will be to Megginch Castle gardens. Megginch Castle was for hundreds of years home to the Hays of Megginch, forefathers of the Earls of Kinnoull.

On Saturday 1st August, we will, once again have our tent at the Aboyne Highland Games where we will meet other members of Clan Hay and enjoy a ceilidh and hog roast with other clans in the evening. There will be opportunities to participate in fly fishing, and other activities.

On Sunday we will gather for our traditional Clan Lunch and visit Delgatie Castle – our Clan Centre (Members of the tour will be able to look around the castle free of charge); Old Slains Castle and New Slains Castle. On leaving Delgatie, we will go on to Old Slains Castle and New Slains Castle, where there will be guided tours.

Our tour in 2013 was fully booked and I have already received booking for this year so do, please see the web site – for updates. If you are interested in taking part, please feel free to email me and advise me of your interest and I will take your booking.

The cost of the tour this year will be £480 which will include:

  • Bed and breakfast at Duns Castle for three nights
  • Illustrated talks on Clan Hay and the Battle of Flodden
  • Visit to Flodden battlefield
  • Lunch at the Collingwood Arms
  • Visit to Neidpath Castle
  • Supper at Duns Castle
  • Visit to Manderston House including lunch
  • Visit to Ladykirk Stables
  • Murder Mystery Dinner—”Murder in the Highlands”
  • Visit to Borthwick Castle
  • Lunch at Fingask Castle
  • Visit to the Hawkstane and Errol Motte
  • Visit to Megginch Castle
  • Ceilidh and hog roast
  • Lunch at Delgatie Castle
  • Guided tours of the Old and New Slains Castles

Please note that accommodation is not included for the Friday and Saturday nights.

Jim Clark Rally

Petrol heads can enjoy the Jim Clark Rally which takes place in the local area from the end of May until the beginning of June. Spectators and supporters relish the high-octane experience which includes spectacular jumps, ditches, and hedges on a fast paced course!

Reivers Week and the Duns Summer Festival

Reivers Week and the Duns Summer Festival are marked with the crowning of the Wyndsome Maid of Duns, and the appointment of her attendants. As part of the historic tradition of the local area, Reivers Week is a high point in the local calendar, and apart from the historic rides and cavalcades, also features many other activities, including the pipe band, performances by the amateur dramatic society and the teddy bears picnic; all rounded off with a fantastic family ceilidh.