The Royal National Mòd bids farewell to Lochaber

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After eight days of competitions, performances and festivities, the Royal National Mòd said goodbye to Lochaber on Saturday.

Scotland’s biggest Gaelic festival has been hailed a huge success, with a record number of participants leaving a legacy that will be remembered for years to come.

Thousands of Gaels and supporters made their way to Fort William to enjoy the Mòd, with somewhere in the region of £2.5 million expected to have been generated for the local economy.

The official closing event took place on the streets of Fort William as the massed choir made its way along the High Street for a final sing-a-long. Representatives from 2018 host town Dunoon were present for the ceremonial handover. The Gaelic festival will return to Dunoon for the eighth time next year, when it will take place from October 12 to 20.

Organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach, the Mòd is the biggest and most important festival of the Gaelic language in the world and this year saw a rise in under-18s competing in traditional singing events and literature events, with at least 200 more entrants than the previous year. The rising interest in the festival and traditional Gaelic culture bodes well for future events and the Mòd’s continued success.

The top prizes this year went to Alasdair Currie and Rachel Walker in the Gold Medal competitions; John Joe MacNeil and Hannah Knight in the traditional Gold Medal; with Ishbel Campbell and Coinneach MacLeod taking home the Silver Pendants.

Claire Frances NicNìll was awarded this year’s first Charlie MacColl Memorial Award and Mary Sophia Morrison scooped the new Angus Nicol Memorial Quaich.

In the choir competitions, Back Choir won the Lorn Shield and Bùrach scooped the Sheriff MacMaster, while on Friday Lochaber were presented the Margrat Duncan Memorial Trophy and the

Lovat and Tullibardine was won by Dingwall for the second year running.

John Morrison, chief executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said: ‘What a fantastic year it’s been for the Royal National Mòd in Lochaber. To welcome the highest number of participants in a decade is special and shows the strength and importance of Gaelic culture. The level of competition has been outstanding.

‘I’m delighted to welcome so many new faces among the familiar ones this year, and we hope they’ll be returning to join us in Dunoon next year. It’s encouraging to see so many young entrants and winners this year, and the quality of competition has been magnificent.

‘I’d like to extend our gratitude to everyone involved in running this year’s Mòd, and particularly to the local organising committee and all of our volunteers and sponsors. Planning is already under way for Mòd 2018 in Dunoon and we look forward to seeing everyone there.’