Youth trumps experience for Mod Gold Medallists

Their combined age of just 39 made this year’s Mod Gold Medallists two of the youngest to win the prestigious singing honour.

Robert Robertson (19) from Fort William was the runaway winner in the men’s competition, adding the Gold Medal just a year after he triumphed in the Silver pendant for learners in Dunoon.

The women’s winner was 20-year-old Eilidh Munro from Bishopbriggs, who was making her second appearance in the competition after missing out on the final by one mark last year.

Robert, an English Literature student at Glasgow University who sings with ceilidh band Skipinnish, said he felt nervous going into last Thursday morning’s final — despite holding a significant overnight lead.

“It’s an amazing feeling to have won, but I felt nervous in the days leading up to the final. The Mod Gold Medal is still a huge competition, which you see when you look at the guys who have won it in the past. It still gives you a lot of clout.”

A regular performer on the pub ceilidh circuit, Robert gave thanks to the advice and encouragement he received from tutor Rachel Walker from Achnacarry.

“She encouraged me to go down the route of Gaelic singing, and if it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t be singing Gaelic songs today,” he added. “I enjoy every aspect of performing — whether it’s in the Park Bar on a Friday night, or on stage competing at the Mod.”

Eilidh, who is in her third year of a Celtic Studies degree at Edinburgh University, is the first person in her family to have Gaelic since her great-grandfather who hailed originally from Kinlochleven.

She learned the language as a pupil at Meadowburn Primary and earlier this year sang at the celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of a Gaelic-medium unit at the Bishopbriggs school.

“I was just so surprised at winning — I would have been happy to have been fourth,” she said after the win. Eilidh’s singing tutor is Ishbel T MacDonald from South Uist.

Second in the female Gold Medal competition was Ceitidh Smith from Kyle of Lochalsh. Ceitidh also won the Mary MacNiven Memorial Salver and the Oban Times Gold Medal for singing a song composed by a Lorn Bard.

Alison Buchanan from Glasgow was third in the female Gold Medal competition, while second and third in the men’s competition were Donald Brown from Glasgow and Ross Crichton, Benbecula.