Sun, rain, and more than 7,000 miles on a plane – Dunoon Mòd gets off to a flyer

The Coro Gaelico Ceólraidh from Argentina came all the way from Argentina to be at this year's Royal National Mód. 17_MOD42DM16_Tuesday

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The number of competitors at this year’s Royal National Mòd might be down this year compared to last, but you wouldn’t know that walking through the Queens Hall in Dunoon.

The new venue was well used throughout the first half the festival, with something going on in every corner.

Whether that be a competition in the main hall, a practice session in one of the adjacent rooms, a press conference, or a visit from an Argentinian choir that travelled 7,365 miles to attend this year’s event.

And there’s even a soft play area upstairs to keep youngsters who aren’t taking part entertained.

The weather has been unpredictable, it surprised everyone on Monday with blue skies – especially after drenching everyone brave enough to watch the sports events over the weekend.

The soft play was well used on Tuesday, with the sun giving way to more rain.

Mondays and Tuesdays at the Mód are when the young adults and children’s events take place.

Monday turned out to be the day of stuffed animals, with three pupils from Rockfield Primary School receiving gold badges after performing with either ‘Oscar the Mod dog’ or the ‘Mod penguin’.

The prestigious An Comunn Gàidhealach Silver Medal competitions took place on Tuesday, with Finlay MacLennan and Anna NicLeóid, both from Inverness, walking away with the accolades.

A topic of discussion at Tuesday’s press conference was the lack of men competing – only two men are currently scheduled to take part in the renowned traditional singing competition.

In response to this, John Morrison, chief executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said: ‘Competition entries across the board at this year’s Royal National Mód are healthy.

‘This year’s traditional medal competition has a total of 16 entries; 14 in the women’s category and two in the men’s, after one participant unfortunately had to drop out at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances.

‘With the traditional medal being one of the most prestigious of the week, we are always keen to see strong numbers taking part, so we are open to looking into new ways that we can encourage and support people, and in particular men, to take part, be it through working closely with younger age groups or choirs.’

Thursday and Friday at the Mòd is when the adult choirs take centre stage and this year, a choir have travelled from Argentina to take part.

The eight-strong Coro Gaelico Ceólraidh said performing at a Mòd was a goal of theirs.

Guillermo MacKinlay, who set up the choir, said: ‘We started to sing in Gaelic in 2002. I have Scottish ancestors, so I am interested in the language and culture.

‘It’s just wonderful to be here – our goal was to try to make it and we finally did.

‘This is a wonderful town. The landscape is just amazing and the people are just so friendly.’

The choir arrived in Dunoon the day before the Mòd started and will stay until Saturday, when the festival comes to a close.