This year’s winners of the prestigious Traditional Gold Medals at the Royal National Mòd were Claire Macaulay, from Ness, now living in Glasgow; and Torquil MacLeod of Stornoway.
The competition, considered one of the most coveted at the Mòd, took place on Thursday night and sees competitors sing two songs of their own choosing in the traditional Gaelic manner.
Claire lives in Glasgow with her husband and three children, and teaches primary children at the Glasgow Gaelic School. She is also a member of the Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir which won the ladies Area Choir competition this afternoon.
Earlier it was announced that Inverness will host the Mòd in 2020. Scotland’s biggest Gaelic cultural festival will be returning to the capital of the Highlands for the first time since 2014.
The Fringe nears its end today as ‘Dol Fodha Na Grèine’ (The Going Down of the Sun) in Stornoway Town Hall looks at the triumphs and sorrows of the First World War.
The presentation is delivered through the writings, photographs and artefacts of communities across the Isle of Lewis, from Ness to Ballantrushal. Leading Gaelic singers such as Iain MacKay, Linda MacLeod and Arthur Cormack will perform songs from their home islands in a ‘Place of My Heart’ at An Lanntair.
In the evening, festival goers will have the opportunity to dance the last night away at the Mòd Closing Ceilidh, taking place in An Lanntair, Stornoway.
The Massed Choirs will assemble at Stornoway Town Hall tomorrow morning, before making their way to The Nicolson Institute for a final sing-a-long, before Mòd goers make for their flights and ferries home.
John Morrison, Chief Executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach said: “As we almost reach the end of our time here in the Western Isles, we can’t thank the Western Isles and the local organising committee enough for their hospitality.
“The level of competition across all age groups has been outstanding and I’m sure we’ll be seeing many familiar faces in Lochaber next year. It gives us great pleasure to finally be announcing a return to Inverness for 2020’s festival.”
Provost of Inverness Councillor Helen Carmichael said: “I am delighted that the Royal National Mòd will be returning to the capital of the Highlands in 2020. Highland Council is committed to the development of the Gaelic language and the flagship Royal National Mòd is most welcome to Inverness.
“A study showed that the 2014 Mòd when hosted in Inverness generated an impressive £3.5million to the business community in Inverness.”
Councillor Hamish Fraser, who chairs Highland Council’s Gaelic Implementation Group said: “The Council’s commitment to Gaelic is evident especially in relation to Gaelic Medium Education which is currently available in many areas with the region from large combination’s to rural communities Ullapool, Dingwall, Tain, Newtonmore, Staffin, and Sleat, to mention just a few of the locations.
“We also have successful dedicated Gaelic Schools in Inverness, and in Lochaber which was officially opened in the spring this year.
“Recently a turf-cutting took place for a new Gaelic School in Portree. This all forms a strong basis for a successful Royal National Mòd in the Capital of the Highlands.”