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Last Updated: Friday, 14 October 2005, 07:46 GMT 08:46 UK
Gaelic festival returns to isles
Musicians
The annual festival celebrates Gaelic music and culture
The Western Isles is hosting Scotland's annual festival of Gaelic language, art and culture.

About 10,000 visitors are expected to watch the 2,000 competitors in the Royal National Mod, which was last held in the islands in 2001.

The programme includes piping, drama, dancing and sporting events.

A new trophy for Gaelic learners has been created in memory of the late BBC broadcaster Ali Abbasi to recognise his support of the Mod and the language.

A Gaelic baton is being carried from Perth, which hosted last year's event, to Stornoway on Friday.

Its arrival is due to coincide with the festival's official opening in the new An Lanntair Arts Centre in the town.

'Unique heritage'

During the festival, which runs until 22 October, there will be much debate about securing funding to make future gatherings more international.

The future of Gaelic will also be considered, after figures suggested that the number of speakers was in decline in the language's heartlands.

Angus MacDonald, the president of organisers An Comunn Gaidhealach, said "There is great anticipation throughout the Gaelic community when the National Mod visits the Western Isles.

"We look forward to welcoming our friends and supporters from around the world whose commitment and comradeship helps ensure the survival of our unique heritage."


SEE ALSO:
Mixed report on Gaelic language
10 Oct 05 |  Scotland
MSPs rule against Gaelic equality
21 Apr 05 |  Scotland
Gaelic festival hits right note
08 Oct 04 |  Scotland
Tributes paid to BBC broadcaster
31 Jul 04 |  Scotland


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