ORGANISERS of the Royal National Mod hailed this year’s event in Inverness “the best ever”- amid reports it has brought an estimated £3million to the local economy.
The Gaelic gathering will reach its climax today when the massed choirs line up on the hill outside Inverness Castle to give one last spectacular performance.
Last night John Macleod, chairman of Mod organisers, An Comunn Gaidhealach, praised residents in the city for turning out in force for the competitions.
He said: “I think it was a very good week for our language and our heritage.
“I hope it will not be that long until we come back to Inverness. It is a very good place to have an event of this nature.”
Mr Macleod said audience figures were very high for the official Mod events and also for the Fringe programme of entertainment in pubs and hotels, which was the biggest in the gathering’s 122-year history.
Allan Campbell, convener of Inverness Mod Committee, urged members of the public to join the choirs marching through the city to the castle today.
The venue will host a special handover ceremony of the Royal National Mod banner to representatives from Oban, next year’s host town.
“It has been a wonderful Mod,” he said.
“It has fulfilled all our aspirations in terms of weather, the people and the buzz that has been about the city.”
Mr Campbell, a Mod veteran who has chaired 20 gold medal competitions and 17 Lovat and Tullibardine choral competitions over the years, said that he had received much positive feedback that the Inverness Mod was the best ever, and he felt sure it had brought a massive economic boost to the city.
Some estimates put the income from the event over the nine days at between £2.5million and £3million and traders across the city said they had felt the impact.
Mike Smith, manager of Inverness Bid, said: “A lot of city centre businesses have seen a big benefit from having the Mod in town.
“Obviously the hospitality and accommodation sectors have enjoyed a welcome boost in demand for food, drink and beds, but it has really been across the board with people starting their Christmas shopping.
“We would love to have it back anytime. I know that the organisers have loved working in Inverness and Eden Court so I’d be delighted to have it back as soon as possible.”
Angus Noble, chairman of Inverness and District B&B Association said his guesthouse, Glendoune, had accommodated competitors and supporters.
He said: “The town has been absolutely buzzing from the whole thing. They’re saying it’s the biggest Mod ever and that can’t be a bad thing.
“We have had good business out of it and I know that other B&Bs have also enjoyed some extra trade.
“It’s especially good to have big events which aren’t just in the summer. We’re used to everything happening in June, July and August so it’s a welcome boost at this time of year.”
Yesterday was one of the busiest of the nine-day event, with almost 50 choirs competing.
The prestigious Lovat and Tullibardine competition was won by Glasgow Gaelic Musical Association.
Today, the choirs will gather at Crown Primary before setting off for the High Street around 10.30am. They will then head up Castle Street to gather in front the castle.
One of the highlights will be singing of Sine Bhan, which has become a Mod farewell anthem.
Highland Council convener Jimmy Gray said the event had been a great testament to council and other organisations working closely together and agreed that feedback from the public had been very positive.
He added that the memorandum of understanding between Highland Council and the province of Nova Scotia in Canada was currently being reworked, and that this would lead to the strengthening of Gaelic language and heritage links on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Mod Fringe will be brought to a close this afternoon with a shinty/hurling international match between Scotland and Ireland at the Bught Park.