The first three days of Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail (The Royal National Mòd),Scotland’s biggest Gaelic Cultural Festival, have been a huge success as Inverness has officially welcomed the Mòd back to the city for the first time in 17 years.
The festival is a signature event of the Highland Homecoming celebrations and it is an apt return to the Highland Capital.
The festival runs until Saturday 18th October and is expected to bring up to £2.5 million to the local economy as visitors and competitors travel from across Scotland, the UK, Canada, the USA and the United Arab Emirates for the event.
Over Friday, Saturday and Sunday there has been a procession through the city, Fringe events including the opening concert featuring Gaelic
Music stars Skipinnish, an opening address by John Macleod (President of An Comunn Gàidhealach who organise TheMòd) highlighting the positive growth of Gaelic-medium education, particularly in the cities, and raising questions about the Gaelic Language (S) Act of 2005 and whether Gaelic does command “equal respect” to English. The official opening was performed by Alastair Carmichael MP, the Secretary of State for Scotland.
The Mòd began on Friday with the presentation of the coveted Gaelic Ambassador of the Year award, which was presented to BBC presenter Kirsteen MacDonald. Inverness born Kirsteen was presented with her prize by Minister for Scotland’s Languages Alasdair Allan MSP at an opening reception for the annual celebration of the Gaelic language, music and culture, at the Town House.
On Saturday, 22 children’s competitions took place in Fiddle, Chanter & Bagpipes, Piano, Accordion, Hornpipe and Melodeon. Brothers Sandy and Finlay Cameron of Roybridge both won awards with Sandy (age 17) winning the James R Johnston Memorial Trophy in the Piping Ceòl Mòr competition and being placed 3rd in the Piping Ceòl Beag. Meanwhile, Finlay (age 13), proved it was 3 times a charm for the Cameron family, as he took 1st place in the 13-15 age group Bagpipes Open Competition.
The Mòd Shinty Cup was another highlight on Saturday as home team Inverness took on Boleskine in a fierce Shinty match at Bught Park. The Rt. Hon. Danny Alexander MP started the match by throwing the ball up to skippers Matthew Ross and Aaron McMaster. In the end Boleskine Camanachd Club triumphed and took home the trophy.
Over the next six days, over 3000 competitors are to compete in another 180 competitions in Highland Dancing, Gaelic Music and Song, Sport, Literature and Drama, for Gaelic speakers of all levels.
The biggest Fringe in the Mòd’s 122 year history will be running alongside the competitions with over 70 events taking place. There will be concerts featuring amongst others Cruinn and DCR favourites Skerryvore and Trail West, street theatre, meet the author events, pub music nights, children’s disco, come & try sessions and a ceilidh.
Says John Morrison, chief executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach, “It’s been a wonderful start to The Mòd and Inverness has already proved itself to be a welcoming host.