Delgatie Castle – Painstakingly Restored

Delgatie Castle in Scotland owes its present restored condition to the determination and efforts of its owner, the late Captain Hay. On his return from the Indian Army in the late 1940s, Capt Hay bought the derelict and uninhabited Delgatie castle and spent the next forty years and more restoring and refurbishing it. The Castle has largely been with the Hay family for the last 650 years and is also the worldwide Clan Hay Centre. The clan tartan is a distinctive red with green checks.

Delgatie is a unique castle of Scotland dating back to about 1050. About an hour away by road from Aberdeen and Inverness, the castle has a picturesque setting, tremendous character and a distinct sense of history. The main tower dates from about 1100, while its final extension with the battlement walk above the string course was completed in 1579. The castle originally belonged to the Comyn Earls of Buchan. However, after the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, when Robert the Bruce routed the invading English army, many estates were awarded to his loyal supporters and Delgatie went to the Hay family.

Delgatie was rebuilt in the 16th century when the invention of the siege gun highlighted the need for greater fortifications. The wings were added in 1743 with the chapel and dovecote on the west and the kitchen and servants’ quarters on the east. The castle passed out of the hands of the Hay clan when it was bought by the Duff family. It was occupied by the army during the Second World War, between 1940 and 1946 but was uninhabited for a while after that. It is now the home of Captain and Mrs. Hay, set peacefully within its extensive estate, with gardens and many delightful walks.

Some of the rooms still display their original 16-century painted ceilings, considered to be among the finest in Scotland. The turnpike stair of 97 treads is one of the widest in Scotland, measuring over five foot. It is unusual as it is built within the thickness of the wall. A couple of suites within the castle are available as vacation rentals. There are also five self-catering cottages and apartments around the estate on the edge of Delgatie’s working farmstead.

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