The Royal National Mòd 2016 finished in the Western Isles today with the open air singing of the Massed Choirs at The Nicolson Institute in Stornoway.  In the ceremonial handing over of the reins, John Macleod (far left), President of An Comunn Gàidhealach, and Councillor Norman MacDonald (far right), Chairman of the Western Isles Local Organising Committee, passed the torch on to representatives from 2017 Mòd hosts Lochaber.

After eight days of competitions, performances and festivities, the Royal National Mòd bade farewell to the Western Isles this afternoon (Saturday October 22).

Scotland’s biggest Gaelic festival has been hailed a huge success as it leaves a legacy that will be remembered for years.

Thousands of Gaels and non-Gaels made their way to the Western Isles to enjoy all that the Mòd has to offer, with somewhere in the region of up to £2.5m expected to have been generated for the local economy.

At the final massed chor event at The Nicolson Institute, representatives from 2017 host town Lochaber received the ceremonial handover from this year’s hosts, the Western Isles. The 126th year of the Gaelic festival will take place in Lochaber from 13-21st October next year.

Organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach, the event is the biggest and most important festival of the Gaelic language in Scotland. This year saw a rise in under 18s competing in traditional singing events and literature events. The rising interest in the festival and traditional Gaelic culture bodes well for the future.

The top prizes this year went to Carol Maclean and Hector MacKechnie in the Gold Medal competition; Claire Macaulay and Torquil MacLeod in the Traditional Gold Medal and Fiona Ross and Fergus Muir took home the Silver Pendants.  During the children’s events on Monday and Tuesday, Màiri Callan (15) of the High School of Glasgow and Eòin Cuimeanach (13) of Gairloch High School won the Traditional Silver Medal competitions.

In the choir competitions; Barra Gaelic Choir won the Lorn Shield, Lochaber won the Margrat Duncan Memorial Trophy, and the Lovat and Tullibardine was won by Dingwall Gaelic Choir, who also walked away with a full sweep of the trophies available in the competition.

John Morrison, Chief Executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach said: “We’ve had a fantastic time in the Western Isles this year, it’s been great fun, we’ve seen some great competitions and the level of Gaelic has been outstanding. From all those we’ve spoken to, the feedback has been brilliant.

"I’m delighted to have seen so many familiar faces competing this year, and it fills everyone at An Comunn Gàidhealach with pride to see new people entering the competitions, we hope they’ll be joining us in Lochaber next year.

"I’d like to extend our gratitude to everyone involved in running this year’s Mòd, and particularly the local organising committee and all of our volunteers. Planning is already underway for Mòd 2017 in Lochaber and we look forward to seeing everyone there.”

In addition to the competitions and fringe events, the Mòd also provides a platform for all of Mòd partners and sponsors to make announcements, confirming the value and importance of the Royal National Mòd within the Gaelic community.

The Royal National Mòd is supported by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, HIE, Caledonian MacBrayne, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, EventScotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland, SQA, BBC ALBA, the Scottish Government, Royal Mail and the National Trust for Scotland.