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Scalan Pilgrimage in Honour of Bishop Hay
16 June @ 16:00 - 17:30
The Annual Pilgrimage Mass at Scalan takes place this year on Sunday 16 June, Trinity Sunday, at 16:00.
It was on this feast in 1769, 250 years ago this year, that Bishop George Hay, one of the great names of our Catholic past, was consecrated bishop in the tiny upstairs chapel in the present Scalan building, in secret because of the anti-Catholic Penal Laws. Bishop Hay fought to overturn these laws. It was not easy. On returning to Edinburgh after another round of secret talks with the Government, he found a mob burning his house down and the chapel he had started building. Although English Catholics had a Catholic Relief Act passed in 1779, opposition here was considered so strong that it was 1793 before a similar piece of legislation could be passed for Scotland. Although he died in 1811, much of what he had done laid the groundwork for the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829.
Scalan can be reached by leaving Tomintoul on the A939 (B9008 Dufftown). Just beyond Auchnarrow, about five miles later, Scalan is signposted on the right on an unclassified but good road, with passing places. For those on satellite systems, AB37 9JS is a useful postcode. It should get you to Chapeltown of Glenlivet. After passing the Church of Our Lady, the whisky distillery and the water-bottling plant, all on your right, the road becomes a country track. Coaches have to stop here, but cars and minibuses can continue to within walking distance of the house. Thankfully, like good Christians, those who take their cars along this track can be confidently waved down by those who would like a lift. Sensible shoes are required, and one should be prepared for any weather.