Cheered by focus on Highland culture

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Calls are going out far and wide for everyone interested in entering the Highlands and Islands Music and Dance Festival to get their applications in.

It’s a fantastic opportunity for budding dancers and musicians to test themselves in a friendly and encouraging competition and I would encourage parents to get their young musicians and dancers to enter.

It’s a great way for them to gain confidence and skills which will be useful throughout their lives.

I’m delighted that so many young people are now interested in music and particularly traditional music, which really seems to have taken off over the past wee while. Evidence can be seen in the number of very accomplished bands, musicians and singers we have around the town.

I love that the culture, language and music of this part of the world are being promoted so widely now.

When I was younger, it was not and I was talked out of learning Gaelic in school and pushed to learn French instead which I really regret now.

I’ve recently signed up for the Gaelic course with Duolingo, as I know many people have, and it’s great fun but there are also lots of opportunities locally to learn with others.

Furan Gaelic Centre in the Corran Halls has lessons available and also advice on groups where you can have a cuppa and practice face to face.

I’ve also seen a Gaelic coffee morning at the Gaelic-medium unit in Rockfield advertised which would be great fun so the opportunities are out there and it’s never too late.

My ambition is to be able to understand the words of some of the songs the next time the National Mòd is in Oban … fingers crossed.

The photo last week was of the door at the side of Fancy That on George Street, which was blocked up years ago, but this week’s photo is really easy.