Mod's fluent youth speaks volumes for Gaelic education

THE continued success of Gaelic-medium education is providing organisers of the Royal National Mod with a welcome headache - how to cope with the huge number of children who are now being classed as fluent.

This year has witnessed a significant swelling in numbers in the junior native speakers' section, to such an extent that organisers have now been forced to extend some of the competitions beyond one day.

Tuesday of the Mod week has traditionally been reserved for pupils who have a strong grasp of the language, but some of these competitions have this year been moved to the Monday due to the high number of entries.

There have been a number of educational developments over recent years, such as the opening of dedicated Gaelic primaries in Glasgow and Inverness, and a further 103 Gaelic-medium units in primary schools throughout the country, supporting a total of 2,092 pupils.

John MacLeod, the president of the Mod organiser An Comunn Gaidhealach, said: "It is fair to say that the increase in fluent competitions is a direct result of the improvements in Gaelic-medium education. There are more and more kids coming through who are falling into the classification of fluent. That is highly encouraging and is something we welcome, but it is creating a problem for us.

"For the first time this year we held some of the fluent competitions on the Monday.

"I don't know how we deal with it if it continues to expand, which we hope it will, other than continue to extend it over the one day and maybe into Wednesday."

An Comunn has decided to introduce a new element to this year's events which should provide the children's section with even greater recognition.

Led by a group of pipers, the competing children from Monday and yesterday will march through Fort William town centre to gather at a grassy knoll known as the Parade where they will collectively display their singing ability to an anticipated large crowd.

Murdo Morrison, the Mod promotions manager, said the organisers "just wanted to do something for the kids".

He added: "We have had high praise for moving some of the competitions from Tuesday to Monday. We moved some of the folk groups to Monday, the first time we've done that with the children's competitions, and it is simply because of pressure of numbers. There has been a very high standard and it's been as a result of the increase of fluent speakers coming through from the Gaelic medium."

Meanwhile, in the competitions, the isle of Lewis proved it was still top of the class when it comes to producing solo singers in the traditional mould, with both the female and male event for traditional singing won by youngsters from the island. They were 18-year-old Colin George Morrison from Barvas and 17-year-old Charlotte Campbell from Laxdale.

MOD RESULTS - TUESDAY

ORAL (FLUENT SPEAKERS)

Poetry Recitation (13-15): 1. Eilidh Munro, Glasgow Islay Junior Gaelic Choir. 2. Christina L MacLeod, Sgoil MhicNeacail. (11-12): 1. Sean M Brady, Sgoil Chairinis. 2. Eilidh NicCarmaig, Bun-sgoil Phort Righ. (9-10): 1. Sharyn Ferguson, Coisir Og a' Bhac. 2. Kathryn Nic a' Mhaoilein, Sgoil Charlabhaigh. (7-8): 1. Claire Francis NicNill, Sgoil Bhagh a' Chaisteil. 2. Alex John Moireasdan, Bun-sgoil Bharabhais Rev Donald Stewart, Duntulm, Memorial Quaich (5-6): 1. Mairi Callan, Fernhill School. 2. Domhnall Lachlann Peutan, Bun-sgoil Cnoc na Creige. Prose Reading (13-15): 1. Mairi Chaimbeul, Sgoil Shleite. 2. Eilidh NicFhraing, Ard-sgoil Phort Rgh. (under 13): 1. Brighde Chaimbeul, Sgoil Shleite. 2. Saffron Hanvidge, Inverness. Conversation (13-15): 1. Eilidh NicFhraing, Ard-sgoil Phort Rgh. 2. Fiona Rennie, Sgoil MhicNeacail. (11-12): 1. Meg Buchanan, Glasgow Islay Junior Gaelic Choir. 2. (equal) David MacLeod, Sgoil Ghaidhlig Ghlaschu, and Eilidh NicCarmaig, Bun-sgoil Phort Righ. (9-10): 1. Isabelle Bain, Coisir Og a' Bhac. 2. Eoghann Peutan, Bun-sgoil Cnoc na Creige. (5-6): 1. Domhnall Lachlann Peutan, Bun-sgoil Cnoc na Creige. 2. Alexander Ferguson, Sgoil Bhagh a' Chaisteil. Storytelling (13-15): 1. Iain Murdo Mac a' Mhaoilein, Sgoil Shiaboist. 2. Eilidh Munro, Glasgow Islay Junior Gaelic Choir. (11-12): 1. Annabel MacLennan, Coisir Og a' Bhac. 2. Sean M Brady, Sgoil Chairinis. (9-10): 1. Mairi MacLennan, Coisir Og a' Bhac. 2. Sharyn Ferguson, Coisir Og a' Bhac. (5-6): 1. Marsaili Anna NicNill, Sgoil Bhagh a' Chaisteil. Bible Reading (13-15): 1. Mairi Chaimbeul, Sgoil Shleite. 2. Calum MacLeod, City of Edinburgh Music School. (11-12): 1. Katy Graham, Coisir Og a' Bhac. 2. Saffron Hanvidge, Inverness. (9-10): 1. Brighde Chaimbeul, Sgoil Shleite. 2. Isabelle Bain, Coisir Og a' Bhac. Folk Tale (13-15): 1. Eilidh Munro, Glasgow Islay Junior Gaelic Choir. (11-12): 1. Saffron Hanvidge, Inverness. 2. Sean M Brady, Sgoil Chairinis. (9-10): 1. Rowan Dhomhnullach, Bun-sgoil Phort Righ. 2. Eoghan MacLeoid, Sgoil Bhagh a' Chaisteil.

CHORAL (FLUENT SPEAKERS)

Two-part Harmony: Oban Times Challenge Trophy (13-18): 1. Ard-sgoil MhicNeacail. 2. Sir E Scott School. Mrs Ann Grant of Laggan Memorial Trophy (under 13): 1. Sir E Scott School. 2. Coisir Og a' Bhac. Port-a-Beul: Belle Campbell Trophy (13-18): 1. Ard-sgoil MhicNeacail. 2. Sir E Scott School. Mrs Schroder Cup (under 13): 1. Coisir Og a' Bhac. 2. Sir E Scott School. Unison: Mrs Campbell Blair Trophy (13-18): 1. Sir E Scott School. 2. Ard-sgoil MhicNeacail. Angus M. Ross Trophy for Gaelic - Ard-sgoil MhicNeacail. Rev Archie M. Beaton Trophy: Ard-sgoil MhicNeacail. Heather K Moore Cup for music: Ard-sgoil MhicNeacail. Donald Morrison Memorial Award: Ard-sgoil MhicNeacail. Aberfoyle and District Branch Trophy (under 13): 1. Sir E Scott School. 2. Coisir Bun-sgoil Crois na Cise. Donald Morrison Memorial Award: Sir E Scott School.

VOCAL SOLOS (FLUENT SPEAKERS)

An Comunn Gaidhealach Silver Medal, Girls (13-15): 1. Kirsten Whitfield, Falkirk Junior Gaelic Choir. 2. Jayne Morrison, Sir E Scott. (11-12): 1. Eilidh NicCarmaig, Bun-sgoil Phort Righ. 2. Kristina MacDonald, Sgoil Ghaidhlig Ghlaschu. Nancy Craik Memorial Trophy (9-10): 1. Amy Heron, Bun-sgoil Crois na Cise. 2. Isabelle Bain, Coisir Og a' Bhac. An Comunn Gaidhealach Silver Medal, Boys (13-15): 1. John Murdo MacAmhlaigh, Sgoil MhicNeacail. 2. Ruairidh MacCarmaig, Ard-sgoil Phort Righ. (11-12): 1. Kenneth Rankin, Ard-sgoil a' Phluic. 2. Fraser Munro, Bun-sgoil Innis an Uillt. Roy Wentworth Gold Medal (9-10): 1. Simon MacDonald, Bun-sgoil Crois na Cse. 2. Eoghann Peutan, Bun-sgoil Cnoc na Creige. Boys and Girls (7-8): 1. Eilidh Jenkins, Sgoil Ghaidhlig Ghlaschu. 2. Rona F NicNeacail, Bun-sgoil Phort Righ. (5-6): 1. Mairi Callan, Fernhill School. 2. Chloe MacKinnon, Bun-sgoil Phort Righ. Traditional: Hugh and Rachel Morrison Taylor Trophy, Girls (16-18): 1. Charlotte Campbell, Sgoil Mhic Neacail. 2. Catherine Tinney, Ardsgoil Phort Righ. Ann Kelly MacDonald Memorial Trophy, Boys and girls (13-15): 1. Kim NicDhomhnaill, Sgoil Ghaidhlig Ghlaschu. 2. Ruairidh MacCarmaig, Ard-sgoil Phort Righ. TSB Scotland Shield (Under 13): 1. Isabelle Bain, Coisir Og a' Bhac. 2. Saffron Hanvidge, Inverness.

VOCAL SOLOS (FLUENT and LEARNERS)

Girls (16-18): 1. Maria MacLeod, Sgoil MhicNeacail. 2. Catherine Tinney, Ardsgoil Phort Righ. Boys (16-18): 1. Philip Todd, Thurso High School. 2. Colin George Morrison, Sgoil MhicNeacail. Turriff Trophy for Gaelic: Maria MacLeod, Sgoil MhicNeacail. Meryl Mae Stewart Memorial Trophy for music: Philip Todd, Thurso High School. Precenting a Psalm: Allan C. MacLeod Memorial Trophy (Under 19): 1. Kayanna Mhoireasdan, Sgoil MhicNeacail. 2. Angela Nic A' Ghobhainn, Sgoil MhicNeacail. Jonathan MacDonald, Kilmuir, Trophy (Under 13): 1. Robert MacDhomhnaill, Sgoil Stafainn. 2. Katy Graham, Coisir Og a' Bhac.

DUETS (FLUENT SPEAKERS)

(16-18): 1. Colin George Morrison & Amanda MacAskill, Sgoil MhicNeacail. 2. Eilidh MacLeman & Charlotte Campbell. (13-15): 1. Alice Inglis, Strathallan, & Kim NicDhomhnaill, Sgoil Ghaidhlig Ghlaschu. 2. Jayne Morrison & Catherine MacLeod, Sir E Scott. (under 13): 1. Annabel MacLennan & Mairi MacLennan, Coisir Og a' Bhac. 2. Kirsty Gaughan & Finlay Gunniffe, Bun-sgoil Crois na Cise.