Olympic flame hits the heights with Sir Chris

THE Olympic torch was carried to the top of the highest mountain in Wales yesterday by one of the nation’s best-loved mountaineers.

Sir Chris Bonington, 77, who took the flame up to the summit of Snowdon, started his career on the 3,560ft (1,085m) mountain in 1951, when he was just 16. He said yesterday was the first time he had ever reached the top using the Snowdon Mountain Railway.

Following the train ride, Sir Chris walked the torch to the summit, posed for pictures and signed autographs for the crowds that had gathered there in the sun.

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An emotional Sir Chris, who has also climbed Everest and was knighted in 1996 for his services to mountaineering, said it was “a special moment”.

After reaching the mountain’s summit, the flame then crossed from the Happy Valley to the Great Orme summit on the Great Orme cable car.

The relay’s 11th day had started earlier on Anglesey, as a convoy of four RNLI lifeboats helpedto carry the flame up the water that separates the island from mainland Wales.

Racing against the stopwatch to get from their boathouse to the pier at Menai bridge in 15 minutes, the crews managed to make it to the finishing line on time.