A Highland fling for Bute dancers

Amelia Whitelaw, Eilidh McTaggart, Rachel Cameron & Eleanor McCartney.
Amelia Whitelaw, Eilidh McTaggart, Rachel Cameron & Eleanor McCartney.

The Anne McIlroy School of Dance enjoyed a fantastic day out at the Highlands and Islands Music and Dance Festival in Oban recently.

Amelia Whitelaw (8) and Eleanor McCartney (9) both came home with medals from what is arguably one of the toughest competitions on the circuit.

Rachel Cameron (8) won the Falls of Lora National Trophy in beginners 8 and 9 years section, whilst Eilidh McTaggart (10) came joint first in the Royal Hotel National Trophy in the intermediate 10 years section. She also won the Special Barracks Johnnie Trophy.

Anne McIlroy, who has run the school for 60 years, was full of pride for her dancers, competing at the first major event of the year.

She said: “It’s such a big competition, they have split it and hold it over four days.

“The girls did very well. They all got a placing.

“Eilidh did exceptionally well in the intermediate group, and also shared another trophy. I was delighted for Eilidh. Delighted for the family too, because it is a big effort to get her up there. The parents are doing that, not me.

“She performed really well in a tough age group.

“This was a great start. Hopefully we build on that.”

The school’s dancers have a busy season ahead of them, including hosting a competition later this month.

Anne added: “That was them sort of kicking off the season in Oban. Although it never really ends.

“They will be going to Dunoon and Ayrshire, and we have got our big event on April 27. So all our dancers are practicing for these event now.

“They are also working for their dance exams just now, so that’s a big deal also.”

Anne revealed she was not letting a recent operation stop her from helping her students make progress.

She said: “It’s a lot of hard work and I’m getting a bit too old for this. But most of my senior girls are great and do a lot of work for me.

“My daughter is teaching just now because of my knee replacement operation.

“I’m on the road to recovery. I’m hoping to be jigging again sometime soon, I really don’t know when exactly.”