Distance learning students on Sabhal Mòr Ostaig's Access to Gaelic Course, An Cùrsa Inntrigidh, were this week celebrating their success in completing the course. Students from all over Britain and Europe who took part in the course last year attended the College's Graduation Ceremony for distance learners on Saturday evening (22.11.03). Guest speaker Chrissie Dick, an acclaimed Gaelic writer and Trustee of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, welcomed the students and congratulated them on their achievement; "Gaining a certificate from Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is a worthy achievement and in congratulating you today, I am also delighted to welcome you into the Gaelic community."

Photo of An Cùrsa Inntrigidh graduates Photo of Anna Martin and Chrissie Dick
An Cùrsa Inntrigidh students at their graduation in Àrainn Chaluim Chille
Anna Martin who graduated on Saturday and guest speaker Chrissie Dick

An Cùrsa Inntrigidh, which began as a pilot course 3 years ago, has proved a tremendous success. Written by Iain Taylor and Murdo MacLeod, the course is designed for complete beginners of Gaelic who wish to learn from home and includes live, interactive telephone tutorials, monthly regional tutorial groups and weekend schools.

"When writing the course, we were hoping to provide an opportunity for people learning Gaelic to connect with other learners, and very importantly, to be able to speak to other learners, no matter where they were", said Iain. "We wanted to provide a system of support for all those trying to learn Gaelic on their own."

Photo of Andrew O' halloran and Raymond Anderson who graduatedAndrew O' Halloran from Glasgow first started on the course while living and teaching in Spain; "As a language teacher myself, I thought this was an excellent distance learning course. The CDs and workbooks meant you could study at home in your own time and the weekly telephone conversations were a great way of developing and improving conversational skills. I especially enjoyed this aspect of the course as I was living in Spain at the time and didn't have too many Gaelic speakers close by!"

Now back in Scotland, Andrew says that it was the structure and support mechanisms of the course that made it stand out; "If I was developing a course in any language then I would certainly look to the example of An Cùrsa Inntrigidh and how it helped me to learn Gaelic and gave me the confidence to use the language."

Catherine Monnelly lives in the north of Skye and works at Inverness College's outreach learning centre in Portree. She decided to enrol herself on the course as she felt it was important to learn the language of the area; "I couldn't live in this area and not recognise or value the uniqueness of the culture and the people here. The course was excellent and the teachers were fantastic. I learnt a great deal and it has given me the confidence and enthusiasm to carry on learning."

An Cùrsa Inntrigidh continues to develop and reach Gaelic learners worldwide. Over 160 students are enrolled on the course this year and Susie Hardy, the Course Co-ordinator hopes to see more and more people joining the course and learning Gaelic; "As a Gaelic learner myself who first started by distance learning, I understand the difficulties and obstacles faced by the students. This course offers students the chance to learn in their own time and location, but not in isolation. Many of our students continue to meet and keep in touch to further improve their Gaelic. Courses such as these, together with the support of organisations such as Clì Gàidhlig, can only be beneficial to the wider Gaelic community in the future.

Photo of Susie Hardy demonstrating An Cùrsa Inntrigidh learning materials Photo of Suzanne and Robert Arnold who graduated on Saturday
Susie Hardy demonstrating An Cùrsa Inntrigidh learning materials
Suzanne and Robert Arnold who graduated on Saturday

For more information on An Cùrsa Inntrigidh, contact Susie Hardy on 01471 888 448 or email Further details are also available at