Along the Pentland Road, 25 May 2017

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Tuesday 23 October

The day started off quite foggy, but this lifted after sunrise, 8.30 am. Afterwards, it stayed bright and sunny right throughout the day. Even when darkness fell, there was hardly a cloud in the sky.

Over on the mainland, an accident closed the road between Inverness and Ullapool, from where the ferry to Stornoway sails. This resulted in delays to traffic seeking to catch the 5.35pm ferry. Calmac showed consideration by delaying this sailing until 8.30pm. It is now due in at 11.15pm. Three hours late, but better late than not until next morning.

I omitted to mention that last week saw the 120th edition of the Royal National Mod in Dunoon. At that event, the schools in the Western Isles did very well, scooping up several awards. The 2016 Mod will be held here in Stornoway, after visits to Paisley next year, Inverness in 2014 and Oban in 2015. It is a showcase for Gaelic culture, not just singing or music. The Mod programme also includes shinty matches and readings of prose. As far as the singing goes, marks are not only awarded for the musical qualities, but also Gaelic pronounciation.

Gaelic is a language that is only a distant relation to English, but several Gaelic words have crept into common usage in English. The word galore (gu leoir) is the best-known example. I do not speak Gaelic, and only know a handful of words. I am familiar though with the Gaelic version of placenames in Lewis and Harris. Although these may appear like a bad bout of alphabet soup (e.g. Gearraidh na h-Aibhne), if you know the rules on pronounciation and can manage the guttural CH (as in LOCH) you'll do fine. To me, the Gaelic names make more sense than the Anglicised versions.

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