ACTOR Brian Cox was among more than 100 people to carry the Queen’s Baton on the third day of its tour of Scotland in the final build-up to the Commonwealth Games.
The Hollywood star took part in the Midlothian leg of the relay, carrying the baton to the doors of the world-famous Rosslyn Chapel - a move he said appealed to his “sense of drama”.
The baton will have travelled through 70 nations and territories in its 248-day journey around the Commonwealth before it reaches its final destination at the Glasgow 2014 opening ceremony on July 23.
Cox, who has appeared in films such as X Men 2 and Troy, joined charity workers, youth group leaders and other volunteers in the community picking up the baton in Midlothian.
He was greeted by cheering crowds as he made his way to the medieval chapel which shot to fame after it featured in the Da Vinci Code film in 2006.
After completing his baton-carrying task, he said: “That was fantastic, it’s actually beginning to kick in. It was surreal to say the least. I didn’t even know what I was wearing when I turned up today, then I was handed this package with the trousers too big and the shirt a bit too wee.
“Now it feels great. Doing it felt bizarre with everyone screaming around you but I was thinking, the calmer I am the better I will be. I’m really enjoying it.
“Unfortunately my wee boy, who’s travelled all the way from America, has missed it because he’s jet-lagged and he’s fast asleep in the car. So I am feeling a bit sad about that.”
He added: “I was delighted to be asked and in particular because of Rosslyn Chapel. You couldn’t get a better gig - I mean the sense of theatre. South Queensferry is great and so is the bridge but Rosslyn Chapel, it’s the business and it appeals to my sense of drama.”
Today’s route also takes in sports centres, including the ski slope at the Snowsports Centre at Hillend, and Beeslack, Penicuik, Lasswade and Newbattle high schools.
The baton also travels to the National Mining Museum at Newtongrange and St Andrews Primary School in Gorebridge before reaching Dalkeith Country Park where the celebrations will be brought to an end with an outdoor party.
Cox was among 116 people to carry the baton throughout the day. Other baton bearers include volunteer Burns Scott, 85, Jennifer Henderson, a young sport ambassador with Scottish and British swimming titles, and Steven Waterston, a former soldier who volunteers and completes marathons although he has a neurological condition. Colin Leslie, who represented Scotland in badminton after having both his legs amputated from below the knee, also carries the baton.
Joe Wallace, provost of Midlothian, said: “This is wonderful that it has now arrived in Midlothian. It’s going to so many places today and everyone is thoroughly enjoying it.”
The baton was passed across the border on Saturday by triple Commonwealth gold medallist Daley Thompson, who handed it over to Team Scotland athlete Eilidh Child in the town of Coldstream.
It has so far visited Edinburgh and West Lothian as part of its journey across 400 Scottish communities, carried by more than 4,000 baton-bearers who are being recognised for their inspiration, hard work and impact on the lives of others.
The baton was sent on its way by the Queen at Buckingham Palace on October 9 last year with a special message contained inside which she will read at the opening ceremony next month.