SCOTLAND’S biggest Gaelic cultural festival, The Royal National Mòd, has opened in Lochaber.
This year’s event, which is organised annually by An Comunn Gàidhealach, is expected to bring a record 3600 participants.
The eight-day festival opened in a dazzling display last night with a torchlight procession down Fort William’s High Street.
The parade was led by Deputy First Minister John Swinney and President of An Comunn Gàidhealach Allan Campbell, before local MSP Kate Forbes officially opened the Mòd at the opening ceremony.
The ceremony saw an engaging inaugural speech from An Comunn Gàidhealach’s new president, and an evening of live music, including a performance from Gaelic folk group Na h-Òganaich, and former Gold Medallists Robert Robertson and Ross Wilson.
Allan Campbell’s presidential address emphasised the value of Gaelic culture in Scotland, and its importance to the country’s heritage.
He encouraged all of Scotland to take pride in this culture, and spoke of the impact that the recent expansion of Gaelic education has had, resulting in a record number of participants taking part in this year’s Mod.
Earlier in the day, the prestigious Gaelic Ambassador of the Year Award was presented to Janet MacDonald of Tobermory.
The award, presented by Deputy First Minister John Swinney, was in honour of her dedication to Gaelic language and culture.
She has worked for the Gaelic cause all her life through teaching.