IT will take in breathtaking scenery, iconic landmarks, remote outposts and city arenas.
Organisers of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games today reveal the plans for the route of the Queen’s Baton Relay, which will culminate in the nation’s biggest ever sporting extravaganza.
Some 4,000 hand-picked baton-bearers will lead more than a month of festivities before the baton arrives at Celtic Park on 23 July for the opening ceremony, when a message written by the Queen and placed inside the baton at Buckingham Palace last October before its global journey will be read out by Her Majesty.
The baton will be carried around some of Edinburgh’s landmarks when it starts its Scottish journey on 14 June, including Meadowbank Stadium, which has twice played host to the Commonwealth Games, in 1970 and 1986.
Among other locations the baton is due to visit will be the Forth Bridge, the Kelpies giant horse sculptures on the outskirts of Falkirk, Glenfinnan Viaduct in the West Highlands, the Old Course at St Andrews and Loch Ness.
Thousands of “local champions” aged 12 and over will find out at the end of the month where they will be baton-bearers for the relay, which will also visit selected schools, sports facilities and leisure centres as well as coastlines, island beaches and forest trails. Around 100 people are needed to carry the baton each day.
David Grevemberg, chief executive of Glasgow 2014, said: “The Queen’s Baton Relay is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for people across Scotland to celebrate what’s extraordinary and unique about their communities, and honour those locals who make a difference to others.
“The baton is visiting hundreds of villages, towns and cities, with thousands taking part in the relay, and many more attending the vast programme of sports and cultural events along the route. “With less than three months to go until the baton comes home to Scotland, the momentum is building up for the biggest festival of sport and culture this nation has ever hosted.”
The relay will take in extensive tours of the Northern Isles, visiting the likes of Skara Brae, Orkney’s prehistoric village, and travel the length of the Outer Hebrides from the Isle of Barra to the Butt of Lewis. The most northerly point it will reach will be Brae in Shetland.
More than 400 communities in all 32 of Scotland’s council areas will get the chance to see the baton over the course of 40 days on a route that will cover almost 5,000 miles and include journeys on land, air and sea.
The most northerly point it will reach will be Brae in Shetland while Kirkcudbright in Dumfriesshire will have the honour as the furthest south destination.
The baton’s journey – after 123,000 miles across 70 nations and territories around the Commonwealth – will culminate in a three-day tour of Glasgow before the Games are opened.
Michael Cavanagh, chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland, which will be managing Scotland’s team this summer, said: “The Queen’s Baton Relay is the ultimate symbol of the Commonwealth Games and its arrival in Scotland will be an important signal to both the athletes and the public that the Games are just around the corner.
“The baton’s journey through the country is the ideal opportunity for people 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.”
Steve Cardownie, Edinburgh City Council’s festivals and events champion, said: “Naturally, I’m delighted that the baton’s first port of call should be here in Edinburgh and you can be sure that it will receive a fitting welcome from Scotland’s capital city.”
“We have a fantastic programme of events planned for the day, running from morning till night, giving Edinburgh residents of all ages the opportunity to show their support for Glasgow 2014. We know already from the response to events running in our schools that there is a real appetite to embrace the games and get involved.
“Edinburgh has such a rich Commonwealth Games heritage, having hosted the Games twice before, and are thoroughly looking forward to playing our part this year when we welcome the diving competitions to the Royal Commonwealth Pool.
He added: “With Glasgow being only 40 miles away, I’m quite sure people will jump at chance to extend their trip to include our world famous summer festivals.”