HUGE crowds turned out to welcome the homecoming of the Queen’s Baton yesterday as the relay returned to Glasgow ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
After a marathon journey across the globe, the baton relay returned to Glasgow for the first of a three-day long tour before Wednesday’s opening ceremony.
The endeavour, which got under way in October, is now on its 285th day. The symbol of the forthcoming Games has already been held aloft by tens of thousands of bearers across 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.
Its arrival in Glasgow marks the finale of its trip through Scotland where it has already spent more than a month. The first day in the host city saw the baton spirited by bearers through the city centre, before visiting Garnethill, Cowcaddens, Dennistoun, Easterhouse, Riddrie, Balornock and Springburn.
BBC journalist Kirsty Wark was among the baton bearers greeted enthusiastically along the route. One of the first people to carry the baton in Glasgow was Gordon Robertson, 47, from Denniston, who was nominated for his role as an athlete and coach of GB Paralympic and Special Olympics teams.
As a specialist in the 200 and 400 metres on the track, he won a host of honours in international athletics. He now coaches young athletes at the Red Star Athletics Club in Glasgow.
He said: “It’s a special occasion for the city, it’s really been great. It will be a good two weeks. It feels like it’s the beginning of the Commonwealth Games, it really is just a couple of days away. It’s the biggest sporting event the city’s ever likely to hold, so I just hope the people of Glasgow enjoy it and have a great time.”
The honour of carrying the baton past the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) fell to William Mitchell, 41, who led the 4c Design team which designed the baton.
“It was really exciting to see it again,” he said. “My company actually designed and built the baton so it was really a great honour to see it come back in one piece after having set off in October last year.”
Games volunteer Chris Nield, 21, from near Sevenoaks in Kent, said: “I’m here to give a warm welcome to the friendly Games.
“I got involved with the Olympic Games in London. Normally in London on the underground you see people so quiet and miserable but during the Games and the Paralympics they were hyper. I hope it will be the same again with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.”