A Gaelic singer made an emotional return to the stage today, a year after singing to her mother in her final hours.
As the third day of in-person competitions got under way at the Royal National Mod in Inverness, adults from across the country competed for the prestigious An Comunn Gaidhealach Silver Pendant.
The accolade is one of two up for grabs, with fellow entrants also competing for the prestigious An Comunn Gaidhealach Gold Medal later this evening.
Among those taking to the stage at Eden Court was Rena Gertz, who came first place with a score of 185 for her chosen song in the qualifying round.
The data protection officer for Edinburgh University said it had been an emotional win following the death of her mum last year, but is looking forward to retaking the stage in the final later.
Ms Gertz said: “I was overwhelmed by emotion. I lost my mum to cancer last year and I stayed with her and I think I did my most important singing last year. I sang to her in her last hour at the hospice so this is for her as well as for me.
“She would be hugely emotional.”
Ms Gertz, from Prestonpans, added: “I like the songs in the final, I really enjoy singing them.
“I’m just going to try and do my best and try and not let nerves get the better of me.”
For the competition, male and female competitions gave renditions of two songs to secure their place in the final.
Each competitor performed one prescribed song and one of their own choosing in front of a thriving audience, before being given their scores in music and Gaelic.
‘I just cannot believe it’
Mary MacKinnon, from Oban, secured the Mary Margot W.S Campbell memorial trophy in the prescribed solo singing qualifying competition.
The 58- year-old nearly withdrew just days before the competition due to family circumstances, but is thrilled to have secured a first place win followed by a place in the silver pendant final final.
Mrs MacKinnon, a singer with Oban Gaelic Choir since she was 18, said: “It just unbelievable but it feels amazing. I just cannot believe it.
“It was really touch and go whether I was going to sing but doing this competition helped me learn four new songs.”
In the men’s qualifying round, Peter MacPherson from Inverness, known to many as Padraig, took first place for both his prescribed song and the song of his choosing.
He walked away with both The Catherine Ishobel Stewart Memorial Quaich and the Banks of Scotland Memorial Cup; with aims of completing the set by winning the Silver Pendant.
He said: “I’m gobsmacked.
“I took part in the Mod in Stornoway in 2016 but this is my first since then, in Inverness, on my home patch.
“I just live a couple of miles down the road. I was up at 6am getting warmed up.
“I’m going to pop home, have a bite to eat and warm up my voice again but I’m just delighted.”
Today’s competitions mark the sixth day of the nine-day festival and the first of this year’s adult events.
It follows the culmination of the children’s competitions, with young performers waking away with a host of silver awards.
James Graham, chief executive officer of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said: “Today marks the busiest day in the Mòd’s nine-day programme of events, with exceptional Gaelic musicianship and literary excellence to be enjoyed.
“After two successful days of children’s competitions, today it is the turn of the ladies and men as we welcome the prestigious Silver Pendant and Gold Medal competitions.”