Commonwealth Games 2014: Glasgow takes baton as tournament gets up and running

Everything from jubilation to bemusement met the relay as it hit the city

It might not have captured the public imagination to quite the same extent as the Olympic torch relay two years ago.

At times the route was a lonely plod for the runners bearing the Queen’s Baton cheered on through thin knots of well-wishers on its 287-day journey through the nations and territories of the Commonwealth en route to Celtic Park and the opening ceremony of the Glasgow games.

But as housing charity worker Craig Clarke, 50, rounded the corner into Govern Road, the former shipbuilding capital of the world, the locals were out in the hundreds to enjoy the spectacle and the hot sunshine.

“It was the best experience of my life,” said Mr Clarke, who was nominated for the honour of bearing the baton in recognition of his role building up a local running club. “The Games are inspiring for the youth and that is something we are trying to do too. It is a really fantastic opportunity for the city,” he said.

With 35 per cent of the population of Govan living in deprivation it is one of the poorest and unhealthiest neighbourhoods in a city already blighted by the lowest life expectancy in Britain.

Gordon Strachan poses for pictures with 'games makers' at Hampden Park (Getty) Gordon Strachan poses for pictures with 'games makers' at Hampden Park (Getty)
The disappearance of nearly all the ship yards on the Upper Clyde might have destroyed traditional employment but it has failed to extinguish its community spirit.

Councillor Stephen Dornan, 56, is the self-styled keeper of the Govan Ram’s Head – an animal’s head on a stick which is said to represent a love token presented to a local beauty queen 258 years ago.

“I don’t know whether it is the weather or the baton but people seem very jubilant. Glasgow does not do things  by half. If you take it back to  the City of Culture, in everything it does it makes the city proud,” he said.

Despite the cost of staging the international sporting event, many in the crowd at Govan were willing to be swept away in the atmosphere – at least for the day. Outside the Job Centre, work coach Maria Campbell, 38, was feeling positive. “I knew Govan would put on a good show. It has community spirit and is always a lively place. As long as the people of Glasgow benefit through the legacy – the houses that have been built for the athletes – it will have been worth it. There is a real buzz,” she said.


Retired businessman Charles Inglis, 71, was still wearing his blue baton-bearer’s running uniform after taking part in the relay four days ago in Clydebank. He had been nominated after helping raise money to restore the Loch Lomond paddle steamer.

“People are loving it – they are gobsmacked by it. People who have run with the baton are using the same superlatives because they can’t think of  any other words. Everybody wants to touch the baton it means so much to them. It is only small but it is such a big thing,” he said.

Similarly uplifted by the experience was Ian Boyd, 32, a youth worker who was chosen after leading a party of Glasgow schoolchildren to Northern Ireland as part of an anti-sectarian project. “It was lovely and brilliant. It feels strange to acknowledge the reaction of the crown and wave but it is great to see so many people out enjoying the atmosphere,” he said.

Batonbearer 075 Jordan Robertson carries the Baton via boat on the River Clyde (PA) Batonbearer 075 Jordan Robertson carries the Baton via boat on the River Clyde (PA)
Shona McAlpine, 35, was among a small group waving flags urging a Yes vote in the independence referendum in this crucial battleground ward. “I think if Scotland does do well it will be a morale boost. But I don’t think people are that naïve that they are going to base their constitutional decisions on that. Whatever happens it won’t have a negative effect,” she said.

Roger Chapman, 67, was less impressed with proceedings. “I moved here from Suffolk because I don’t like the royal family and for a sense of community. Now I have it on my doorstep. There should at least be an element of protest,” he said.

In nearby Pollok however, the Windsor connection was proving something of an attraction. Identical twins Sarah Anderson and Katherine Rennie, 80, were sitting by the side of Braidcraft Road, a dual carriageway carving its way through a post war housing estate, waving their union flags. “We love royalty. If the Queen is there we will be there. We’re both in the Orange lodge – they couldn’t have had nicer weather,” said Mrs Anderson.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

Beverley James: Accounts Payable

£22,000 - £23,000: Beverley James: Are you looking for the opportunity to work...

Beverley James: Accounts Assistant

£30,000: Beverley James: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a person looki...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower