Busy five days for Gaelic-speaking youngsters

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Geàrrannan Blackhouse village in Lewis will be bustling this week as 18 Gaelic-speaking secondary school pupils take part in 5 Latha 2017.

Now in its sixth year, 5 Latha offers a unique opportunity to participants to experience life in a Gaelic speaking community, taking part in a programme of traditional activities and workshops over five days.

During that time the group will learn about the Harris Tweed industry, spend a day crofting, cut peats, take part in craft and cookery workshops as well as learning music and song with leading musicians Norrie MacIver and Robbie Greig.

Calum Alex Macmillan, Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s Development Manager, said: “We are delighted to have attracted 18 participants to this year’s event for what will be a busy but most enjoyable week.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for the group to learn about traditional community life and the work of the area and to use and develop their language skills.

“We are indebted to the local community at the Geàrrannan for the support and kindness they show us each year, which adds significantly to the experience gained by the participants.

There will be an opportunity to hear the 5 Latha participants and tutors at a special Cèilidh to be held in Carloway Community Hall, in association with Carloway Gaelic Choir, on Thursday 13th April at 7.30pm with tickets available on the night.

It was also announced that Fèisean nan Gàidheal, with support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, will organise 5 Latha nan Oileanach for university and college students between 5 and 10 June 2017. The event will be open to students who have at least an intermediate ability in the language with a range of language learning opportunities organised for the week, as well as a programme of activities in the local community.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig Ceannard (CEO), Shona MacLennan, said: “We welcome this new initiative for students which has grown from the success of the 5 Latha project over the last six years. Increasing the number of people speaking, using and learning the Gaelic language is a top priority within the draft National Gaelic Language Plan for 2017-2022.

“In order to achieve continued growth for Gaelic in the future, it is vital that we have young adults with the confidence and language skills to use Gaelic on a daily basis and it is through projects such as this that this aim can be achieved.”

Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s Chief Executive, Arthur Cormack, said: “There are numerous benefits to school pupils attending 5 Latha and we believe that the same can be true for students who would like to take part in a similar event through the medium of Gaelic, offering them the opportunity to strengthen their Gaelic skills and use the language in a community where it is regularly spoken.”