BY KEITH MACKENZIE
Eilidh, a Gaelic student at Glasgow University, won the prize at the first attempt and follows the example of her dad, Arthur, who was also just 18 when he took the top singing honour at the Mod in Motherwell in 1983. She had gone into the final on the back of a successful day in Wednesday’s qualifying competitions — but although there were some nerves, she said she had tried to be as relaxed as she could when she took to the stage.
A delighted Eilidh said: “My throat was a bit sore so I managed just a little bit of practice last night — but I did get some sleep. It was my first time in the final, but I didn’t feel the nerves to be too bad. I’m just really happy to have won.”
Mum Shona is also an accomplished Gaelic singer, but Eilidh said she never felt pressure to follow in the family’s musical footsteps. “Having a dad who has won the gold medal and is well known can bring a sense of expectation, but at the same time it’s helpful too — he knows what it’s all about,” she added.
Arthur, who had been commentating on the final for BBC Radio nan Gaidheal, said: “I’ve never pushed them — we’ve always said they have to want to do it for themselves. I can give her a wee hand, but she’s very musical herself and she studies Gaelic at University so doesn’t need help as far as the language is concerned.
“The competition has changed a lot since I won it, and in some respects, especially in the women’s section — it’s more competitive.”
Tonight (Thursday) Eilidh’s brother Ruairidh is aiming to make it a family double when he competes in the men’s Traditional Gold Medal final.
The Men’s Gold Medal winner this year was Angus MacLeod, a 39-year-old solicitor from Inverness.
Angus, who has family connections to Lewis, Skye and Uist, sang as a junior but it was only when he returned to his home town three years ago that he took to the stage again. Angus also sings with the Inverness Gaelic Choir who will be competing for the Lovat and Tullibardine Shield tomorrow (Friday).