Hitting the Mòd high notes at first attempt

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It was first time glory for the Gold Medal winners at this year’s Royal National Mòd in Inverness, as Portree student, Eilidh Cormack (18) and Inverness solicitor Angus MacLeod (39) took the honours this morning (Thursday).

Talking to the Gazette about her win Eilidh - who played down a slight sore throat, describing it as a ‘Mod cold’ - said she was more nervous yesterday when performing in the Oran Mòr competition (the qualifying competition for the Gold Medal), but her nerves disappeared for the final, as she felt “she had done her bit and didn’t expect to get first”.

Eilidh, who believes she has Lewis connections through her great grandfather, is a Gaelic student at Glasgow University and when finished with her studies hopes to pursue a teaching or maybe media career (but behind the camera, she joked, as she juggled interview requests).

Talking about her song choice ‘Macleod’s Lament’ (the competitors in the final sing a prescribed song and an own choice) it was a song she had grown up with.

She said: “I actually sang it a few years ago - it’s a song from Skye - and I’ve heard it at ceilidhs. “It has a chorus which everyone sings along with, although not at the competition! I’ve heard it all my life and I really liked it, so as it was my first shot at this I decided to sing it.”

And proving the phrase “like father like daughter” holds true, Eilidh’s Gold Medal achievement will now sit alongside dad, Arthur Cormack’s, as he also won a Gold Medal aged 18 in 1983.

Angus MacLeod entered an exclusive club this morning, as he is only one of eight Inverness men in the Mod’s 122 year history to win the Gold Medal.

Talking about controlling his nerves, Angus, who describes himself as: “Half Lewis (Gress), a quarter Skye and a quarter Uist,” said: “I am surprised anyone could hear me over the clacking of my knees!”

And Angus’s song choice ‘Fair Maid of Barra’, like Eilidh’s, was quite personal to him, as his grandfather had transcribed the words from the original.

He described: “It’s a song about a Uist man and a lady from Barra. The story behind the song is that he is supposed to walk her home after a dance, but he has one too many and forgets, and she is not happy about it, so he writes the song to mollify her.”

And after such stunning success in the morning, perhaps Angus could be forgiven for having a rest, but he was soon called back into action as part of the Inverness Gaelic Choir, as the frantic Mod week continues this afternoon and tomorrow.