June 14,2014(ISN) – A major milestone is taking place in Edinburgh today with little more than a month to go until the start of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, as the Queen’s Baton Relay marks its first day on Scottish soil with a tour around the capital city.
This comes 249 days since the Relay was launched in a special Ceremony outside Buckingham Palace in London last October, and since then it has embarked on a 100,000 mile journey spanning 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.
After two weeks in England, the Baton crossed the border in the town of Coldstream this morning and will travel north to Edinburgh later today for a series of special commemorations.
This will include visits to many different parts of the city, including Newington and Duddingston, as well as the Portabello Promenade, Meadowbank Stadium and the Royal Commonwealth Pool.
The Baton will also visit some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, travelling on Auld Reekie’s historic Royal Mile, touring the Scottish Parliament, as well as passing Holyroodhouse Palace.
It will also travel by tram through the city centre, embarking at Murrayfield Stadium and passing the iconic Royal Scots Monument, before the day concludes with an evening celebration at the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens.This will start at 5.30pm British Summer Time, with the Baton due to arrive at approximately 7pm.
Holyroodhouse Palace will be among the iconic Scottish landmarks visited by the Relay today ©Getty Images”
The Queen’s Baton Relay is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for people across Edinburgh to celebrate what’s extraordinary and unique about their community, and honour those locals who make a difference to others,” said Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg.”The Baton is visiting hundreds of villages, towns and cities across Scotland with thousands taking part in the Relay, and many more attending the vast programme of sports and cultural events along the route.”It’s a great reason for Edinburgh to get out and celebrate the countdown to the biggest festival of sport and culture this nation has ever hosted.”During the day, a vast number of different figures from many different backgrounds will carry the Baton, including Michael McCreadie, a wheelchair-bound seven-time Paralympian who recently completed his first triathlon and Ronnie Sloan, a 70-year-old charity fundraiser with 33 marathons under his belt.Many of the biggest names in Scottish sport will also participate, including table tennis player Craig Howieson, hammer thrower Susan McKelvie, and the final Torchbearer of the day in former World and European super-featherweight boxing champion Alex Arthur.For the first time in the history of the Commonwealth Games, a pupil from every school in Scotland has been nominated to get involved in the celebrations and carry the Baton, with Glasgow 2014 claiming this makes it the world’s “most engaging” Relay to date.
The Queen’s Baton Relay arrives in Scotland following two weeks in England, culminating in a visit to the north-east yesterday ©Getty Images
The build up to the Games, taking place from July 23 to August 3, has been far from smooth at times in recent weeks, with a series of problems engulfing the ticket sales process, as well as a furore over internet charges for the media.But, following the announcement on Thursday (June 12) of the largest ever Scottish squad for a Commonwealth Games, the Organising Committee will be hoping momentum continues to build as the Relay winds its way around Scotland over the next month.”The Queen’s Baton Relay is the ultimate symbol of the Commonwealth Games and its journey through Scotland is an important signal to both the athletes and the public that the Games are just around the corner,” said Commonwealth Games Scotland chairman, Michael Cavanagh.”The Relay gives everyone the chance to celebrate community sport and show support for their local athletes selected to represent Team Scotland at Glasgow 2014. “We hope everyone the length and breadth of the country will get behind the team and play their part in what is going to be an amazing home Games!”Over the next 39 days the Baton will visit the Forth Bridge, Loch Ness and The Kelpies, Falkirk’s 30 metre-high horse head sculptures, as well as the St Andrews golf course, Glenfinnan Viaduct and the World Heritage Site of Skara Brae in the Orkney Islands. It will then arrive in Glasgow in time for the Opening Ceremony on July 23.