News round-up: Gairloch pupils charity quiz; SMO ceilidh; free music tuition and extra Tesco slots

The P1-P-4 pupils

Pupils at Gairloch primary managed to raise £300 by staging a recent online quiz.

Like many across the region, teaching staff at the school have been looking at imaginative ways to engage with pupils outside of their learning during lockdown.

Each week they set up challenges for the pupils to take part in, earning them points for their school clans.

Recently, the teachers challenged the pupils to send in up to three multiple-choice quiz questions for their peer groups. With these, on Friday 15th May, pupils took part in three virtual quizzes, via Google Meet, one each for nursery, P1-4 and P5-7.

During the summer term at school, the pupils would normally take part in a fundraising event.

Teachers linked this with the quiz and asked for a donation to charity in order to take part.  Three children’s charities were chosen to vote for by families, and the winning one was Young Minds, a charity that supports children and young people’s mental health.

Donations were made through Just Giving.

The P5-7 pupils at Gairloch

Mairi MacKenzie, a teacher at the school, said: “It was great that so many of the pupils took part, and it was brilliant to see them interact during lockdown.

“It is important for us, as staff, to keep the school reunited, even though we cannot be together in person.

“We are, of course, also delighted to be raising money for a very worthy charity during what is a very challenging time for many.”

The quiz was also shared with other children in the community, where they were given an opportunity to download the quiz, and also donate to Young Minds.

To date, the fundraising effort is over £300.

The teachers already have plans in place for another virtual event in the coming weeks.

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s Cèilidh Mhòr

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s annual end of term cèilidh was held online last Friday for the first time ever and was extremely well received with almost 7,000 viewers watching the Facebook live event.

The event brings the academic year to an end and gives both students and staff the opportunity to come together at the college for a night of music, dancing and entertainment.

Comann nan Oileanach decided to put together the Cèilidh Mhòr online via Zoom with a ceilidh thereafter on Facebook live, hosted by Iain Smith from Trail West.

The event on Zoom included music from SMO students, Micheal Steele and Saffron Hanvidge, a cocktail masterclass and, for the first time, CnO’s Student Awards which commended individuals on various achievements, teaching and SMO community work.

As part of the evening, CnO decided to raise money for the Skye charity – Skye Community Response – this year and the total sum at present is £1100.

Free online traditional music lessons

A new free online tuition service is being launched by arts organisation Fèisean nan Gàidheal.

A video series of traditional music lessons, at different levels, has been created in Gaelic and English to support those with no Gaelic, learners of the language and fluent Gaelic speakers.

The ‘Oide’ (meaning tutor in Gaelic) series currently offers lessons in accordion, fiddle and Gaelic song, with more instruments available soon, thanks to further funding from the Scottish Government.

The lessons, which are suitable for all ages and abilities, are led by some of the most experienced traditional music tutors in the country, including accordionist Ian Smith from popular folk band, Trail West, fiddler Robbie Grieg, who plays with electronic folk band, INYAL, and singers James Graham, Eilidh Cormack (a member of female singing trio, SIAN) and Deirdre Graham.

The Oide video lessons can be found online at

The project comes under the banner of FèisTV, with funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Creative Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise,

Extra Tesco slots for Skye

Kate Forbes MSP has welcomed almost 200 extra weekly collection slots for Tesco supermarket orders for constituents living on the Isle of Skye.

The constituency MSP had been approached by several constituents on the island who are in the shielding category but had been unable to book a collection slot for weeks in advance.

Some feared they would have to break self-isolation to go to the local shops for essential supplies.

Following constructive discussions with Tesco officials, most notably the Dingwall store management who are responsible for all Skye and Lochalsh deliveries, an extra two vans were added to serve this route.

The extra slots began earlier this month.