Scotland kindles the Paralympic flame
THE spirit of the Paralympics reached the peak of the UK’s tallest mountain yesterday as Scouts braved a cold and windy Ben Nevis to light the torch relay.
The team of Scouts set off at dawn to make the gruelling five-hour climb and they were joined in unison by Scouts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who were making similar efforts on the highest mountains in their respective countries.
The flames were brought down on foot before being transferred to the capital cities of each nation for a day of Paralympic celebrations on Sunday.
They will all then help light the official ceremonial Paralympic flame for next Wednesday’s opening ceremony.
The four Scouts taking part on Ben Nevis were Jason Ridgley, 18; 16-year-olds Joseph Tangnay and Christina Sheffield; and Robyn Gunning, 15, all chosen from communities near to Ben Nevis.
Speaking of his pride in taking part in the event yesterday, Joseph said: “I am in awe of the Paralympic Games and can’t believe that I am involved in this amazing adventure. To help create the Paralympic flame is such a huge honour.”
The group also included mountaineer Kevin Shields, from Fort William who, despite suffering from epilepsy and missing part of his left hand, is a passionate climber. He was the first disabled climber to enter the Ice World Cup and has successfully scaled some of the most challenging mountains in the United Kingdom.
Mr Shields said: “It is such an honour to be included in the Paralympic flame creation. Ben Nevis is such a unique place of beauty and the perfect setting for this once in a lifetime moment”.
Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK at 1,344 metres – 4,409ft – above sea level. Across the UK, the three other flames were created on Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland, Snowdon in Wales and England’s Scafell Pike.
At each mountain, the Scouts used a ferrocerium metal rod and struck it against a rough steel surface to create the sparks for the flame.
Sebastian Coe, chair of the Olympic organising committee, said: “The combination of teamwork and human endeavour being used to create the Scottish flame is a very fitting start to the Paralympic torch relay celebrations. This group of inspirational individuals will be lighting the way to a fantastic ten days of sport.”
Sports minister Shona Robison said: “I am very proud of the group of individuals that will help fire up the nation behind this special moment and stir our athletes to go for gold at the Paralympic Games.
“It is an inspiration to everyone that the flame will have a little piece of Scotland at its heart.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west
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