Ceòlas, this year celebrating its twentieth anniversary, is now well and truly underway.
105 students are enrolled for the summer school, currently taking place in Daliburgh, South Uist.
Although the bulk of participants have travelled from different parts of the UK, they are joined by several students from Germany and Switzerland, along with budding musicians, dancers and linguists from places like Japan and Romania.
Throughout the week, tuition is offered in fiddle, pipes, singing, dance and Gàidhlig in venues across Daliburgh.
Tutors this year include Mairi MacInnes, Paul McCallum, Margaret MacLellan, Howie MacDonald, Dwayne Cote, Fin Moore, Griogair Labhruidh, Leanne Aucoin, Jayne MacLeod, Patsy Seddon, Angus Nicolson and Alasdair White.
Attendance figures this year are roughly the same as last year, said Ceòlas organiser Mary Schmoller.
She added that while a core group of students return to the summer school year-on-year, the majority are first time attendees.
“A lot of our students are the same people returning each year,” said Mary.
“About 20 or 30% are year-on-year regulars, meaning that the rest are new to Ceòlas.”
Mary added that a particularly encouraging area of growth for Ceòlas is the increasing number of young people taking part.
“What we are also seeing now is a group of teenagers, many of whom have island links though they are based on the mainland, coming along to take part, which is good to see.”
This year, for the first time, Ceòlas is offering people the opportunity to drop-in for a single class or more on an informal basis.
According to Pauline MacDonald, vice-chair of Ceòlas, the uptake for drop-in classes has so far proven promising.
“We had three people along on Monday,” she said, “two of them have now signed up for the whole week. Including them, we had eight come along to drop-in today.”
Another new development for Ceòlas this year is the offering of Continued Professional Development (CPD) for teachers at the summer school.
Ceòlas’ Gàidhlig Development Officer Liam Crouse is leading on the programme, through which teachers attend classroom-based courses in the morning and activities in the community each afternoon, working on language skills.
Ceòlas is working with Strathclyde University and University of the Highlands and Islands on the CPD programme, which will also be offered during the symposium planned later in the month. Nine teachers are enrolled to undertake CPD training during ‘’S e ur beatha’.
Last night Ceòlas hosted a Piping Concert attended by some 200 members of the community. Its public programme continues this evening with the ever popular ‘house ceilidhs’ taking place across South Uist tonight.