A mum-to-be and a children’s television presenter took the top prizes in the Gold Medal competition at this year’s Royal National Mod.
It was a triple success for an Inverness Gaelic teacher Ceitidh Campbell, nee Smith, who lives in Inverness.
She had been in the Gold Medal competition eight times, winning this year while six-and-a-half months pregnant.
The 31-year-old has been supported at every local and national competition, an effort she says has paid off, when it comes to having songs learned early in the year.
She said: “I like to learn my words and my songs, and perform them in front of people are early as possible. If people can, they should support provincial mods as it gets Gaelic out and into the communities.”
On winning the Gold Medal, Ceitidh said: “I am still in shock. I can not quite believe it.”
Wearing the badge of her husband Iain’s former regiment, Ceilidh said: “Iain gave me a badge for this year’s competitions and he reminded me that the epitaph is “Second to None”.
“I have been attending provincial and national mods since I was very young, and I have been in competitions since I was five.
“Winning this medal means so much to me, and my husband – and it is in credit to the work and support offered to me by family and friends.”
Ceitidh is a Gaelic Teacher at Millburn Academy in Inverness.
Councillor Andrew Baxter, of Highland Council, said: “Well done to Ceitidh for bringing the Mod Gold medals home to the Highlands.
“On behalf of the committee, I extend a special thanks to Ceitidh for her success. While this is a truly personal achievement, her success will also reflect positively on pupils that she teaches. The Mod Gold medal is a pinnacle to which many Gaelic singers aspire and her achievement is inspirational. Well done Ceitidh.”
A young man who swapped a onesie for a kilt made winning Gold look like child’s play.
Gaelic children’s television presenter Ruaraidh Cormack from Portree won the men’s Gold Medal, after taking gold in the Oran Mor earlier in the day.
The 24-year-old spends much of his day making television programmes for under fives as part of children’s television, and said his colleagues were poking fun at him for looking so smart in his kilt.
“They were saying “we hope you come out in your onesie”, “no one will recognise you”.
Ruaraidh’s dad Arthur Cormack is a former winner of the Gold Medal. The family are from Portree on Skye.
He said: “I was still learning my songs in the last few weeks, so I am delighted, and a little bit surprised, to have won at only my second time of entering the competition.”
Being in front of the cameras on a daily basis means the young man was not fazed by them. He said: “I am singing for the people who are in the audience, the people who have come along to support me. I don’t really notice the camera.”
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Dad Arthur was in the hall to hear his son win the competition. Ruaraidh added: “I think he was as relieved as I was, that I got through all the songs.”
Ruaraidh’ sister Eilidh was named as the Gaelic learner of the year at a ceremony earlier in the week.
No time to rest
There was some last minute cramming, but for the winners of the Puirt-a-beul rural choir it all paid off.
Back Choir said every waking minute in the last few weeks has been about being word perfect, even had five practices in the week leading up to the Royal National Mod in Dunoon.
Conductor Avril Allen said: “Lewis have had a great week at the mod in Dunoon, and everyone has made us feel very welcome.
“I was here with the schools earlier on in the week and I was impressed at the kindness of the staff in our hotel.
“The adult choir has worked very hard this year with some very difficult songs and arrangements. We normally rehearse twice a week, but last week we were out five nights making sure we are word perfect for the competition.
“We are delighted to win the prize, but we congratulate everyone who has taken part in the competitions, as everyone will have put in a lot of hard work.”