Olympic Torch endures coast-to-coast voyage from Lewis to Aberdeen
THE Olympic Torch completed the longest single leg of its 70-day tour last night when it arrived in Aberdeen.
But there was a scare 13 hours earlier when the flame blew out in the windy Western Isles.
At sunrise, just after 4am and with a lone piper playing, a crowd of about 75 early risers watched as Commonwealth triple gold medallist Kirsty Wade, 49, carried the torch through Stornoway bound for the Callanish Stones on the north-west coast of Lewis.
There, members of the torch security team battled against the elements to ensure the former middle distance runner – who competed in the 1988 Seoul and 1992 Barcelona Olympics – could hold the flame aloft within the central stone circle, thought to date from around 3000 BC.
The torch then returned to Stornoway for the relay to begin its 400-mile cross-country journey from the west of Scotland to the Granite City in the east – where golfer Colin Montgomerie carried the flame.
Homegrown athlete Eilidh Mackenzie, 23, from Stornoway, started the proceedings in the town at 6:32am in front of the Western Isles Council building. The track and field athlete is aiming to represent Scotland in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The torch stopped at Lews Castle College before European quad bike champion John Mitchell rode out of the campus holding the flame.
The flame then boarded a plane for the fourth time in two days – having been to Orkney and Shetland the day before – to fly to Inverness.
It was paraded at Inverness Castle in front of hundreds by Robert Young, 60, from Boat of Garten. He was nominated to carry the torch for the work he does with Disability Snowsport UK and the British Paralympic Ski Team,
Before setting off, Mr Young said: “I am a bit nervous but very humbled. All my family and friends have come to watch and I am very honoured to be doing it. I am really looking forward to the Olympics beginning, but am especially looking forward to the Paralympics.”
A total of 109 torchbearers carried the flame through 17 communities across the Highlands, Moray and Aberdeenshire, before arriving in Aberdeen.
On its way, the flame was given a warm reception in a chilly Aviemore, and Cairngorm Mountain, before stopping off at Carrbridge, Grantown-on-Spey, Tomintoul, Crathie and Ballater. No Royal Family members were at home in Balmoral Castle to catch a glimpse of the flame.
The torch continued to Dinnet, Aboyne, Kincardine O’Neil, Banchory, Drumoak, Peterculter, Bieldside, Cults and Aberdeen.
Montgomerie carried the flame through the city centre last night, one of the day’s last torchbearers. Montgomerie captained the 2010 Ryder Cup Team and has won 41 tournaments around the world.
The day’s relay ended in Aberdeen at Castlegate Square where torchbearer Evelyn Capper, 60, lit a cauldron.
She was nominated for her commitment as a full-time foster carer, having helped nearly 100 children and teenagers over 16 years.
Today, the torch will head down the east coast to Dundee.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West