Glasgow Mòd organisers call for more representation from Gaelic schools

Alasdair Iain MacPhee and Isabelle Bain won the first part of Thursday’s Traditonal Gold Medal competition. Pic, Willie Urquhart

Highland schools should participate more at the Royal National Mòd, festival organisers have urged this week.

John Morrison, the chief executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said he would like to see more representation at the annual showcase from places like Skye, Lochaber and Inverness – all three of which are now home to all-Gaelic schools.

Just three choirs entered Tuesday’s secondary-school choral competitions in Glasgow – Sir E Scott and Nicolson Institute from the Western Isles, alongside Glasgow’s Gaelic school.

Mr Morrison said: “They have a Gaelic primary school in Portree now, and Skye is a Gaelic speaking island – we’d like to see greater representation from the High School.

“They were always a great supporter of the Mòd in the past. They should have a steady stream of Gaelic speakers coming through the primary school now, so we’d be delighted to see them back and entering choral and other competitions.

The Nicolson Choir were one of only three secondary schools taking part in Tuesday’s choral competitions. Pic, Willie Urquhart

“The same goes for Lochaber, where there is also a Gaelic school, and for Inverness Royal Academy, the school which pupils of Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Inbhir Nis go on to attend.”

Mr Morrison added: “It’s often said that youngsters need more opportunity for speaking Gaelic outside of a school setting – and the Mòd should be the ideal platform for that.

“If Nicolson and Sir E Scott can manage to come every year, there’s no reason why Portree couldn’t.

“We’d love to see them back on stage when the Mòd comes to Inverness next year.”

The An Comunn Gold Medallists after Wednesday night’s final. Picture Graham Hood

MEANWHILE, singers from Back and Benbecula qualified in first place for Thursday night’s Traditional Gold Medal final.

Isabelle Bain, a 22-year-old postgraduate law student at Glasgow University, won the Moray Trophy in the women’s qualifying competition.

She has returned to competitive singing after a three year break, and tonight will be her third appearance in the prestigious final.

Alasdair Iain MacPhee, from Nunton in Benbecula, leads the men’s competition after winning the Lochaber Rotary Club trophy.

The 27-year-old works as a Gaelic primary teacher at Winhill School in Greenock, and is competing at his first ever Mòd, having been persuaded by his pupils to take part.

Both Alasdair and Isabelle scored 94 out of 100 and, as a result, they shared the Donald Murray memorial trophy

Glasgow gaels also won both of the Gold Medal singing competitions held om Wednesday.

The men’s Gold Medal was won by Ruairidh Alasdair MacLennan, a BBC reporter from Glasgow, but with family connections to South Uist.

The women’s prize was won by teacher Clare MacAulay, originally from Ness in Lewis.