Summer School FAQs

Gaelic

Ceòlas is a Gaelic organisation and Cnoc Soilleir is a Gaelic-speaking building, therefore we highly encourage all students to use Gaelic while attending the Summer School as far as possible. All Gaelic abilities are welcome at the Summer School to be part of our Gaelic-speaking environment in Uist. 

Timetable

Last year’s timetable can be viewed as an example by clicking here. There may be some minor changes for 2024 which will be confirmed in the coming months. You will have your First Choice class twice a day and your Second Choice class once a day.

Are there drinks available during the day?

There is a break between 1030 and 1100 during the morning when refreshments will be available at Cnoc Soilleir – tea and coffee will be complimentary and there is a small cost for the baking. There is a water dispenser at Cnoc Soilleir and we encourage you to bring your own reusable water bottle to refill in order to reduce single use plastic.

Where can I get lunch?

We hope to again run our Ceòlas cafe at lunchtime for Ceòlas participants, an update will be given nearer the time. There are also various local options including hotels, Co-op and other outlets within walking distance as well as others within a 10 minute drive. You are also welcome to take a packed lunch.

Where will my classes take place?

Most classes are held in Cnoc Soilleir in Daliburgh. Some classes, mainly the dance classes, are held nearby in local halls, for these classes buses will be provided to take you to your class and bring you back. Buses will leave from just outside Cnoc Soilleir prior to each class. Please be there 10 minutes before the class is due to start.

What do I need to wear for step-dance classes?

Wear cool, comfortable clothing – you will probably get quite warm (remember your water bottle). Hard soled shoes should be worn on your feet.

Gaelic for All

All students have a short Gaelic session each day. Gaelic is an essential part of the culture here in Uist, along with the music, song and step dance. You will select a class according to your level of Gaelic on your booking form. If you are unsure please see our level breakdown here.

What Gaelic level should I be in?

Please see our breakdown of Gaelic levels here – classes run at the following levels: Improvers/Post-Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and Seanchas for Fluent Speakers. If you find that the class level does not suit you please come and speak to a member of staff. Please do not choose different Gaelic levels across the choices, therefore please choose the one level which best represents your current level.

General class levels

You must be at an intermediate/advanced level to attend music or step-dance classes. Reels & Quadrilles dance class and song classes are for all abilities. If you find that you are not in the right level, please first speak to your tutor and a member of Ceòlas staff on Monday. We cannot accommodate moves after Tuesday morning to minimise disruption. Where possible we will try and accommodate you in the correct level, however this depends on there being space in that class which we can’t always guarantee.

Evening/Community programme

The community programme is a programme of events outside of the teaching hours of the summer school (late afternoons and evenings) where students and local community come together. Entry to these events is not included in the course fee. You can buy these tickets before or during the summer school itself – a link for these tickets will be released around a month prior to the summer school. Due to restrictions on numbers we ask that any tickets which have been bought but will not be used are returned to the desk for a refund so they can be resold.

Transport to and from the summer school

Ceòlas will again run a daytime bus service to and from the Summer School for participants, further information will be circulated in June. We will also circulate a list of local taxi and bus companies who can be booked for a fee. 

Evening transport is the responsibility of students and there are various taxi services operating in South Uist, Benbecula and North Uist.

Ceòlas will run a bus during the day to take students between classes. 

Arrival and departure in Uist – Ceòlas will assist with transport to and from ferries/planes where needed. Further details will be given nearer the time once you are registered.

Class sizes

There are maximum class sizes for each class in order to ensure that all students get the most out of the week. Whilst there may still be spaces at the summer school some classes may sell out before others.

We encourage you to book early to avoid disappointment and ensure that you get your first-choice classes.

Instruments

All participants in instrument classes must have their own instrument. For the “Piping for Dancing” class participants should have smallpipes or a chanter in the key of A.

Ages

The summer school is for adults of all ages and no under 14s can attend Summer School Classes, however under 14s are welcome at community and evening events. We run a youth programme for fiddlers and pipers aged 14-16 which runs alongside the main summer school at a subsidised cost of £75. Young people aged 16 plus can attend the full Summer School for the full fee.

Cancellation policy

If you need to cancel your place at the Summer School you are entitled to a full refund up to 30 days before the first Sunday of the summer school. If you cancel between 30 and 10 days before the start of the Summer School Ceòlas will refund 90% of the course fee only if your place can be reallocated. From 10 days before the start of the Summer School no refund can be provided. Please contact us if you have booked and then find you will no longer be able to attend and we will do what we can to help.

In case of circumstances outwith our control such as illness, Ceòlas reserves the right to change the advertised tutor at any time in advance of the Summer School or during the week itself.