and a view looking north along the coast towards Dunoon suburbs, Kirn and Hunters Quay.
The Gaelic Mod, as I probably said last year about this time, is the Scottish Gaelic equivalent of a Welsh Eisteddfod , a festival of Gaelic music, song, language and culture, with competitions for young and older!
It’s a chance too to meet friends from other areas, and I’m really quite surprised at the number of people I know in other choirs – and this is only my third Mod!
When Rena, my fellow 2nd alto – there are only the two of us - and I arrived on the Thursday we got tickets to hear some of the rural choirs in their competitions. Tarbert choir, conducted by Hilary was a worthy winner. She and husband Neil - almost hidden in the back row - are cousins of mine, Neil being the one who, several years ago, suggested I join the Lothian choir.
Carloway choir did well too. They were the choir who were formed just last year, and although they come from the Carloway district in Lewis in the Outer Hebrides (Heb-rid-eez) they live scattered over a wide area of the country now, and learn their songs by practising with their conductor on Skype.
Well, in the first competition we sang in, the following day, we ended up with three choirs below us, - which sounds great….but wasn’t really! They all tied at just one point below us! The L&T wasn’t to be ours either – as we knew it wouldn’t – not when we were competing with the choirs of Dingwall, Glasgow and Islay for example! Anyway, at least we weren’t actually in last place in either competition.
Here are some of the Edinburgh choir, below……. yes, I do know her!
Rena’s on the right, with Catriona, in the sunlight in front of her. She’s our Gaelic tutor, who hails from the island of Eriskay, where her family were involved in the real life “Whisky Galore” when HMS Politician ran aground in 1941, carrying a cargo of whisky bound for the United States. Compton Mackenzie wrote a comic novel based on the event, which was made into a film in 1949. (“Tight little Island” in the U.S. ) Catriona is 91 years old, and still teaches Gaelic. She reckons she is the only 91 year old still to be earning a salary!
And after the sing, and some speeches, everyone dispersed, some for soup and sandwiches in the hall before heading off home to whatever part of of the country they had come from. Rena and I had decided that as the weather was fine we’d have a visit to Ben More Botanic Gardens before leaving the area, but more of them next time.
Talk again soon.