Inverness came alive to the sound of music as Gaelic choral singers gathered to mark the end of the Royal National Mod.
Choirs from across Scotland came together at the Northern Meeting Park to put on a spectacular performance as organisers handed the torch over to the event’s 2022 host city of Perth.
The massed choir event was first founded in the Highlands to mark the end of the Mod in Dingwall in 1991, and has grown in popularity over the decades.
James Graham, chief executive officer of An Comunn Gàidhealach, hailed this year’s festival a “huge success”, hailing it as “well worth the wait.”
He said: “It’s safe to say that The Mod has been a huge success this year and we’re over the moon that the hybrid approach has given everyone the opportunity to enjoy the festivities at home and in countries right around the world.
“Inverness has been well worth the wait and an important step towards a full-scale in-person Mod next year – thanks to everyone who made this possible.”
President Allan Campbell said their ability to synchronise the old and the new signifies a “significant step forward” in returning to a new normal.
“The decision to stage the Royal National Mod against the background of fluctuating Covid related restrictions, was seriously challenging for us, but I am proud and delighted that the success of the event both online, and through live competitions and concerts, has vindicated that decision,” he added.
“I believe the 2021 Royal National Mod in Inverness has been a significant step forward towards the new normal we all seek, and we are deeply grateful to competitors, performers, audiences, staff, and volunteers for enabling it to happen, and also for the vital support of all our funders and sponsors.”
Dozens of choral singers from across the country gathered for only the third time in more than 18 months to perform a selection of songs, led by conductors from some of the Mod’s most prominent competitors.
Spectators braved the chilly October weather as they filled the stands eager to catch a final glimpse of the Mod’s festivities in Inverness.
Among the conductors was Raibart McCallum from Campbeltown who was celebrating his 75th Mod.
The former conductor of Glasgow Hebridean Choir – who first performed at the world -renowned festival aged just eight – took to the stage to conduct the choir through the popular Gaelic song Sine Bhan.
Remembering the Mod greats
Conductor Kirsteen Menzies also to the stage to lead a tribute to her late father Hamish following his death at the age of 84 in August.
Mr Menzies was a member of the award-winning Dingwall Gaelic Choir for 40 years and its conductor for 34 years, as well as being pianist in the Strathpeffer Scottish Dance Band.
He was a pinnacle supporter of the Mod, taking to the stage to compete with Dingwall Gaelic Choir.
The 2022 Royal National Mod
Perth will play host to the competitions next year for the first time since 2004.
Perth Provost Dennis Melloy accepted the prestigious Mod flag from conveneer Alisdair Barnett, Mr Campbell and Highland Council officials as the 2021 event drew to a close.
Mr Melloy said: “It’s a great pleasure to join you here in Inverness today to receive the Royal National Mod flag on behalf of the city of Perth.
“These past 18 months have been extremely challenging and very difficult for all of us.
“Organising the Mod is a mammoth task so its completely unbelievable that you have actually manage to have the Mod this year so I would like to congratulate ever single one of you.
“We look forward to welcoming you to the City of Perth in October next year where you will be made very welcome I can assure you.”
- Don’t miss our video round-up of some of this year’s top performers