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.

Read more: THE AMAZING ATHLETES WHO ARE ALREADY WINNERS
FARAH, GEMILI AND 13 OTHER HOME HOPES TO WATCH IN GLASGOW
COMMONWEALTH GAMES 2014: DAY-BY-DAY GUIDE TO THE HIGHLIGHTS
APART FROM THE GAMES, WHAT DOES THE COMMONWEALTH DO?
EDITORIAL: THE GAMES HIGHLIGHT STILL VALUABLE TIES

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.

News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Life and Style
Researchers found that just 10 one-minute swill-and-spit sessions are enough to soften tooth enamel and make teeth vulnerable to erosion
health
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Regent Street Cinema’s projection room in the 1920s
film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing