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Written by on 20/10/2017

The Royal National Mòd (Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail) nears its end today (Thursday 19th October) in Lochaber as Rural Choirs take to the stage.

Alasdair  MacMhuirich --Raonaid Walker

The coveted Gold Medal competition took place yesterday evening, with Alasdair MacMhuirich from Islay and Rachel Walker from Spean Bridge walking away with the awards.


Yesterday also saw the prestigious Silver Pendant competition take place at the busting Nevis Centre, as Ishbel Campbell of Tiree triumphed in the ladies’ category, and Coinneach MacLeod from Lewis took home the win in the men’s.

Today, the Rural Choirs will look to make their mark on the 2017 Mòd, particularly in the Lorn Shield and the Sheriff MacMaster Campbell Memorial Quaich competitions which, for the first time, are being broadcast live on BBC Alba. Traditional solo competitions will also run today, with the qualifiers in the morning and the winner being crowned in the evening.

Fringe events begin to wind down today, but the always popular Convener’s Ceilidh will round off the day’s competitions in style with performances from an array of talented singers and musicians. Taking place in the Masonic Hall in Fort William, the shindig is organised by the convener of the local committee, Ronald Cameron.

John Morrison, Chief Executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said:

“We can’t believe this year’s Mòd is already nearing its close – we’ve had a fantastic week so far and its testament to the hard work of the local committee, and the skill of competing Gaels from across the world. We’ve seen some fantastic performances throughout, and last night’s Gold Medal was truly outstanding; huge congratulations to Alasdair and Rachel.  As we reach the final few days in Lochaber, there are still some great competitions to come. The atmosphere has been electric, and we’re very much looking forward to seeing what the final few days will bring.”

For full event programme and details, visit

We now have the results in from the A300 and A303 Rural Choirs competitions this afternoon.


The Coisir Sgir a’Bhac from Lewis had a fantastic competition, winning the prestigious Lorn Sheild, and a host of other trophies.


Their conductor Avril Allen was given the Mrs Catherin C MacDonald Silver Baton, and they also won the Dalriada Cup for the highest marks in Gaelic, and the Captain Angus Stewart Trophy for the highest marks in music. They also won the Hamish Graham (Strath) Trophy for highest aggregate marks in Gaelic throughout competitions A300, A305 and A306 (qualifiers); and they shared the prize for highest aggregate music marks in the same competitions – having scored equal points with Còisir Ghàidhlig Mhealbhaich (Melvich Gaelic Choir).


Avril Allen commended soprano singer Carol MacDonald, who sang a particularly difficult high note that caught the attention of the audience.


The Sheriff MacMaster Campbell Memorial Quaich, the other main award of the day, was won by Bùrach, a choir from Lochaline led by conductor Riona Whyte. They also won the Selma Shield for highest marks in Gaelic, while the Grace Robertson Memorial Award for highest marks in Music was given to the Còisir Ghàidhlig Ile (Ilsay Gaelic Choir).


Bùrach competed wearing ribbons of MacLean tartan, in honour of their late choir member, Iain MacLean who passed away on his return from a successful choir competition at the International Pan Celtic Festival in Ireland, earlier this year. Speaking of Iain, they said: His strong, melodic tone was a huge asset to the bass section, as was his encyclopaedic knowledge of Gaelic Song. Quick witted and funny – he had a humorous anecdote for every occasion and his company and cràic was sought out, and enjoyed, by all choir members – without exception.”