Royal National Mod News

Mod Legacy is Stitched Up

Published: 29 Sep 2010

An exquisite collection of quilts will become part of the legacy of the Royal National Mòd coming to Caithness thanks to the Kross Kounty Quilters, a group of seven quilters based in Caithness & Sutherland.

June Booth, member of the Mòd Local Organising Committee, had the original inspiration for a raffle quilt as a fundraising idea which was endorsed by other members of the committee who helped turn it into a reality. In particular, Deputy-convenor of the Organising Committee, Christine Stone was hooked on June’s idea and it was Christine who made the initial contacts, on June’s behalf, to Lyn Ball a member of the Kross Kounty Quilters.

From the initial meetings with the Kross Kounty Quilters June Booth said “Christine and I soon realised, to include all the elements we would like in the raffle quilt, the commission would have to be for more than one quilt. From here our job was made easy by the enthusiasm of the Kross Kounty Quilters who accepted our ‘shopping list’ of ideas and presented us months later with the very unique and high quality raffle quilt and a triptych consisting of, banner and two heritage quilts of which we are very proud to be associated.”

The seven quilters – Lyn Ball, Katrina Stewart, Irene Milne, Patsy MacAskill, Janet Corbett, Fiona Murdoch and Elly Dunbar have a history of working on joint Patchwork & quilting projects and many years of experience of working closely together. Each quilter worked on various stages of the pieces using their own skills and expertise and always working to a two week deadline before handing the work on to the next quilter.

Irene Milne, the statistician for the group, said “For all four quilts we spent forty five hours on the design work and two hundred hours sewing.” Lyn Ball added “The Kross Kounty Quilters were all absolutely delighted to be invited to do this commission. We had our first meeting with June & Christine in June 2009 and received very clear instructions of what they wanted us to depict on the quilts. “We started work on the raffle quilt almost immediately and handed it over to June at the beginning of December. In January 2010 we commenced on the triptych quilts working on them as a whole work albeit in three pieces. We feel very privileged to play this part in the hosting of the Mòd in Caithness and equally delighted that the triptych will remain in Caithness Horizons, Thurso and become part of the colourful history of Caithness. It has been a great pleasure working with June and Christine, two very enthusiastic and inspiring ladies.”

Caithness Horizons Centre manager, Beki Pope added: ‘Caithness Horizons is pleased to be able to accept the banner into the decorated arts element of its Collections. The banner not only represents the talented artists and craftspeople that live and work in the county, but also reflects the cultural impact of the Mòd coming to Caithness.’ June Booth added “We’ve sold a lot of raffle tickets for the quilt because everyone who has seen it instantly wants to win it. We’ve already sold tickets to people in Australia, Canada and in various parts of Europe. We will continue to sell tickets right up to the end of the Mòd so there’s plenty of time to see the quilt and buy a ticket before there are none left.”

Christine Stone, Deputy-Convenor of the Local Organising Committee said “The attention to detail on the quilts is absolutely fantastic. We wanted the work to reflect everything about Caithness and to leave a meaningful legacy after the Mòd has gone. The finished work is very special and has certainly exceeded our expectations in every way. All the pieces of work are truly breathtaking. “On behalf of June, myself and the committee, it gives me great pleasure to thank the Kross Kounty Quilters for all their efforts and for allowing us to be part of an amazing experience.”

During the week of Mòd the banner and heritage quilts will be displayed in Caithness Horizons and the raffle quilt will be displayed at various locations with ticket sales continuing until the end of the Mòd. If you’re not lucky enough to win the quilt, you could take a consolation prize home – the Local Organising Committee were so impressed by the designs on the quilt, they commissioned Christmas cards with the same designs. These are available to buy via the Mòd outlets. BBC Alba were present at the recent official handing over of the Banner and heritage quilts to the Mòd Local Organising Committee in the Pentland Hotel, Thurso. The occasion was filmed and featured in the programme, ‘An Latha’,on 20th September.

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Volunteers Sought for Mod

Published: 28 Sep 2010

Over 8000 people are expected to flood into the area for the Royal National Mòd 2010 which will be held in Caithness during October.

The local organising committee has been working hard, organising fund raising events as well as making sure arrangements are in place to make sure that everyone who visits are well looked after.

Graham Cameron, a volunteer with the local organising committee and member of the Melvich Gaelic Choir, is responsible for making sure there are enough people on hand to act as stewards for the many competitions and events that will be held during the week of the Mòd.

Graham Cameron said “We have a great response from a number of people volunteering to help out but we still need more stewards for the actual week of the Mòd. It’s going to be a busy time and we will need a number of people on hand to help with the stewarding arrangements. If anyone has any free time during the Mòd, I’d be delighted to hear from them”

If you are willing to volunteer to help out during the week of the Mòd which takes place from Saturday 9th October to Saturday 16th October then contact Graham Cameron on 01641 571246 or email

Graham added “Stewards will be required to assist with a range of duties including selling tickets/programmes, controlling access to competition venues and marshalling competitors. Even if someone can only help out for a day or two, or simply a few hours, I’d be delighted to hear from them. We want to have our visitors leave with a positive image of Caithness and it would be great to see the community come out and provide some support.”

Volunteers are also required for some of the Fringe events and if you can help provide support Mòd Fringe Convenor, Alex Patience would be delighted to hear from you.

If you would like to hear more about the support required meetings have been organised for Wednesday 29th September at the Weigh Inn at 6.30pm for support to the Mod and the Pentland Hotel at 7.00pm if you think you could help with the Fringe activities.

With only two weeks to go accommodation in the county has been filling up fast. If anyone still has available accommodation they should contact Dave Martin, Convenor of the Accommodation Committee by email or by phone: 01955 661 260.

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Co-op Backs Mod 2011

Published: 21 Sep 2010

The Co-operative is backing the 2011 Royal National Mod, which takes place in the Western Isles, with £5,000 donation to the local organising committee. Planning is already underway for the October 2011 Mod, the premier festival of Gaelic culture and language, and The Co-operative, which has stores across the Western Isles, is supporting the event.

Lorraine Christie, The Co-operative’s Regional Operations Manager, said: “Staging the Royal National Mod in the Western Isles will be a real highlight for people across the islands, as well as attracting many visitors. “We are sure it will be a success and a tremendous boost for the local community, and as a community retailer we are delighted to be able to play our part to help with the costs of planning.”

Alex MacDonald, Convenor of the Mòd nan Eilean Siar local Committee said: “The organising committee greatly appreciates the generous support of The Co-operative Group. Next year’s Mod will be a very significant event for the islands, and we’re delighted to have such support from a retailer that plays such an important role in the local community.”

Pictured are Michael Boylan, Co-op Operations Manager, Alex MacDonald, Convenor Mòd nan Eilean Siar 2011 local committee and Steven Cooper, Co-op Branch Manager, MacAulay Rd Superstore, Stornoway.

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Mod on the Ocean Wave

Published: 20 Sep 2010

Caithness is the proud host of the National Mòd this year and its associated Fringe is staging a wide range of events. The ambitious and innovative programme extends beyond the traditional fare to include a Surfing Taster Session in celebration of Thurso’s uniqueness as a world class surfing destination. This event aims to introduce the uninitiated to the sport of surfing, and particularly to foster the involvement of local youth, although all age groups above 8 are welcome to attend.

The inspiration for the event is local surfing enthusiast, Sheila Finlayson. She is spearheading the Mòd Fringe surfing activities, arranging coaching from members of the prestigious British Surfing Association at beginner and intermediate levels.

Taster sessions will be available on Tuesday 12th October at Dunnet beach at 10.00, 1130, 1330, 1500 and 1600 hours. Those taking part must be 8+ years (with adult supervision for anyone under 16) and while these sessions are free donations would be welcome. Sheila, along with Mike Heddle, will lead the series of short taster session and will provide the essential equipment and facilities. Sessions will be limited to six per session so it is essential to book your place in advance.

In the longer term, Sheila has hopes to inspire the re-surgence of the area’s former surfing club, the North Shore Surf Club. The beaches of the local coastline are unrivalled in surfing circles, ranging from the sweep of white sands at Melvich to the powerful waves of Brims Ness, bearing the full force of the North Atlantic. Sheila hopes to harness the potential offered by this varied and pristine coastline to form a surfing club for the benefit of current and future generations.

Anyone who is interested in attending the Surfing Taster Session should contact Sheila on 01847 890730, mobile 07908593322 or by email to If anyone has surplus surfing equipment which they would like to donate it can be handed in to Homeaid in Princes Street, Thurso before 30 September – mark it for the attention of The Mòd Surfers.

In the meantime, the Mòd Fringe organisers are also interested in donations of general household paint from the public to paint screens for various Mòd Fringe activities. All colours are welcome, especially bright, vibrant colours, in both gloss and emulsion. Yatching varnish would be appreciated too. Partly used tins are welcomed as well as full ones. Paint should be handed in to Annie Kieran at Thurso Library’s Swanson Gallery by Tuesday 28th September – 1pm-5pm (Mon to Wed), 1pm-8pm (Fri) or 10am-1pm (Saturday).

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Convenor’s Cèilidh

Published: 17 Sep 2010

The Convenor of the Local Mòd Ghallaibh 2010 Organising Committee warmly welcomes you to the Convenor’s Traditional Cèilidh, which will take place on Thursday 14th October 2010, in the Ball Room of the Pentland Hotel, Princes Street, Thurso, Caithness at 10pm.

A fantastic evening of celebration and entertainment - Henry MacInnes, Fear an Taigh; Monach Isles Ceilidh Band; Guest Piper - Andrew Harvey; Guest Artistes Including - Maggie MacDonald, Alasdair MacArthur, Chrissie Cumming, Riona Whyte, Seumas Campbell, Ceitidh Smith, Kenny Nicolson, Alasdair Whyte and many more!

Tickets - £5 members, £8 non-members available from An Comunn Gaidhealach on 01463 231 226, at the An Comunn Gaidhealach Mod Ghallaibh Office, Thurso High School during week of Mod Ghallaibh, or at the door. Looking forward to seeing as many of you there as possible!

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Mòd Ghallaibh Shortbread

Published: 15 Sep 2010

Mey Selections, working with Caithness Biscuits and The Royal National Mòd, have created a Special Edition Shortbread, not on offer anywhere else in Scotland, to promote the Mòd activities taking place in Caithness during October 2010. (8th – 16th October).

We are offering Toffee Shortbread, in 2 pack sizes; as a pillow pack (2 biscuits) or as a retail pack (6 biscuits). Only one batch of this product will be made, set to go into production w/c 27th September and we are offering you the chance to stock this product to maximise advertising during the period that the Mòd is here.

Toffee Shortbread / Aran Milis Tofaidh

Product Case Size Cost Price (per Case)

Pillow Pack (2) 50 £19.50

Retail Pack (6) 15 £17.55

Minimum Order is 1 full case, unless otherwise agreed with Mey Selections at point of order.

All orders must be placed by Friday 24th September. Please note: this will be the only run of this shortbread; no further orders will be taken after this date.

Please place all orders through Mey Selections by completing the retail order form attached and sending it for the attention of Laura Edwards, either by:

Email: or Fax: 0845 8380490

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Mod Fringe Launch at Blas

Published: 09 Sep 2010


The Mòd Fringe programme will be launched at the Blas Festival Concert. The Blas Festival has been devised by The Highland Council in partnership with Fèisean nan Gáidheal and the Promoters Arts Network. The festival aims to play a role in celebrating the culture of traditional music and Gaelic in the Highlands. The Weigh Inn will play host to the Blas Festival in Caithness on Saturday 11th September and will feature the James Graham Trio, Breabach and Fèis Ghallaibh Folk Group which features local young vibrant musicians keen to show their musical talents.

Alex Patience, Mòd Fringe Convenor said “It seems fitting to launch the Fringe programme at the Blas Festival. Both organisations are focussed on sharing high energy music, talent and our cultural identity - in blending something local with the national and to have a good time doing it. “We have a full programme of Fringe events and the Fringe programme will be distributed widely throughout the county and much further South. Our plan was to create a great series of Gaelic and traditional culture events and to showcase Caithness as a place more folk should get to know - and that there’s hardy northern spirits here who’ll welcome them and celebrate the Mòd.”

Raymond Bremner, Convenor of the local organising committee for the Royal National Mòd said, “I would encourage everyone to get involved as there is something for everyone in the programme. The work that has been put in to get these events organised has been amazing given everyone is working in their own time to make these happen. It is now only four weeks before the Royal National Mòd 2010 and if we really want to capitalise on the bigger tourism picture it is important that everyone living in the county ensures our visitors go home with happy memories of Caithness and a desire to return. Launching the Fringe programme at the Blas Festival was a perfect fit – the festival will feature pipes, fiddles, whistles, songs, dancing and local talent and is a good example of some what will follow with the Mòd ”

Blas are supporting the Caithness Mòd and you can too by booking tickets at the local box office on 01847 890243 or by purchasing at the door.

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Gaelic Taster Sessions

Published: 07 Sep 2010

Following workshops held in June to provide a basic Gaelic starter course two additional classes have been organised.

The events, hosted by North Highland Tourism, will be held on Tuesday 14th September in Castletown Heritage Centre from 1030-1230 hrs and from 200-400 hrs in Mackays Hotel, Wick.

Jill McNicol, North Highland Tourism said “I was delighted with the interest that the first workshop attracted. This is not meant to be an intensive course, it is very basic and simply allows people the opportunity to meet and greet people in Gaelic if they wish. It’s like going abroad on holiday and saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in the language of the country where you are staying – it’s simply a nice thing to be able to do”

Murray Lamont, Mackays Hotel added “I asked if it was possible to hold a dedicated workshop for the staff that work at the hotel. When the visitors for the Mòd start to arrive in October I wanted my staff to be capable of greeting them in Gaelic and hopefully this will show everyone that we will go that extra mile to make them feel welcome.”

Anyone interested in attending the workshops on 14th September should contact

Carol-Anne Mackay, Event Support Officer for the local organising committee said “I would encourage anyone with an interest to attend the workshop in September. It was good to see the interest the first workshop generated and shows that people understand the potential benefits that the Mòd will bring to Caithness.”

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