2012 Olympic torch route revealed
Wednesday 18 May 2011
London 2012's Olympic torch relay will start in Land's End and travel as far as the outer Hebrides on an 8,000-mile journey to the stadium.
The Olympic Flame will arrive from Greece exactly one year from today and the relay will kick off in Land's End, Cornwall, and continue for 70 days until the opening ceremony of the Games on July 27, 2012.
Organisers today announced the route and details of how the public can apply to be one of 8,000 torchbearers.
London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe said: "The Olympic Flame will shine a light right across every nation and region of the UK and showcase the very best of who we are and where we live.
"The first locations on the route confirmed today give a flavour of the reach the Olympic Torch Relay will have around the UK and how extensive the opportunity for starting to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games will be."
The relay aims to go within an hour's travel time of 95% of the population - and there are also plans to take the Olympic Flame to Dublin.
There will be six island visits: to the Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey, Shetland, Orkney and the Isle of Lewis.
The first 74 locations have been confirmed by organisers taking in famous sports venues, historic sites and places of outstanding natural beauty.
On most days of the relay, the Olympic Flame will travel for 12 hours each day ending in an evening celebration event.
Olympics minister Hugh Robertson said: "The Olympic Torch Relay brings London 2012 to the doorsteps of the UK giving everybody the chance to celebrate the London Games. It's a magnificent showcase for the country and a chance to mark the achievements of inspirational people in our communities."
There will be no international torch relay - the International Olympic Committee decided to make it a domestic event only after the controversial Beijing torch relay in 2008 where protesters used the event to demonstrate against China's human rights abuses.
Britain's IOC member Craig Reedie believes that decision will benefit London.
He told the Press Association: "People used the torch as an opportunity for protest when it should really be an opportunity for peaceful celebration.
"That's why the decision was taken by the IOC to make it a domestic relay only and I think that can only benefit London and Britain."
Reedie said he had been pushing for the torch relay to take in some of Britain's most famous sporting landmarks as it tours the country.
He added: "The intention is to run the torch all around the country - it will go to within an hour's travel of 95% of the population.
"It will also have a British sporting history element to it - so the torch will be run past many of those famous sporting venues such as Wimbledon, Old Trafford, St Andrew's and of course Much Wenlock (the birthplace of the modern Olympics).
"If it does that and encourages young people that will help build up the huge excitement of London."
The torch relay could also prove to be the financial salvation of the cash-strapped British Olympic Association.
The settlement of their cash dispute with London 2012 organisers allows them to market two pieces rather than one of Team GB merchandise based around the torch relay.
The BOA are not due to announce their torch relay items until early next year but if they get it right it could be worth millions of pounds to the organisation.
For example, ahead of last year's winter Olympics Vancouver sold 3.5million pairs of their famous red mittens - their torch relay merchandise - for 10 Canadian dollars each (£6.35).
Similar sales figures for London would provide a huge financial boost for the BOA.
Here is the route of the relay and some of the sporting and cultural landmarks to watch out for:
:: May 19 - Land's End, South West. This landmark is famed as the most south-westerly point of mainland Britain.
:: May 19 - Plymouth, South West. The home of Tom Daley, the teenage World diving champion and one of Britain's hopes for success at the London 2012 Olympics.
:: May 20 - Exeter, South West.
:: May 21 - Taunton, South West.
:: May 22 - Bristol, South West.
:: May 23 - Cheltenham, South West.
:: May 24 - Worcester, West Midlands.
:: May 25 - Cardiff, Wales. The seat of the Welsh Assembly.
:: May 26 - Swansea, Wales. The home town of poet Dylan Thomas and Oscar-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones.
:: May 27 - Aberystwyth, Wales.
:: May 28 - Bangor, Wales.
:: May 29 - Chester, North West.
:: May 30 - Stoke on Trent, West Midlands.
:: May 31 - Bolton, North West. Sprint cycle star Jason Kenny, already a gold and silver medalist from the Beijing Games, looks set to be among the ones to watch at London 2012.
:: June 1 - Liverpool, North West. Being the birthplace of the Beatles alone gives Liverpool a place in history. It also boasts the Royal Liver Building, Liverpool FC and was the 2008 European Capital of Culture.
:: June 2 - Isle of Man, North West. Mark Cavendish, self-styled as the fastest man on two wheels and a 15-time Tour de France stage winner, hails from this region. The Manx man is also a strong tip for Britain's first gold medal of 2012 when he is set to take on the road race competition.
:: June 3 - Portrush, Northern Ireland.
:: June 4 - Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Nobel Prize-winning writer Seamus Heaney plus punk rockers The Undertones are from this region, which is the UK's City of Culture 2013.
:: June 5 - Newry, Northern Ireland.
:: June 6 - Belfast, Northern Ireland. This is the adopted hometown of Dame Mary Peters who will be marking the 40th anniversary of her winning the 1972 Olympic pentathlon gold medal. She became the nation's golden girl and at a time when the Troubles were at their most intense, her victory brought a temporary calmness to Northern Ireland with rival factions celebrating her sporting success.
:: June 8 - Glasgow, Scotland. Charles Rennie Mackintosh is celebrated around the world as one of the most creative figures of the early 20th Century after making his mark on architecture and design. Glasgow is also a Unesco City of Music.
:: June 9 - Inverness, Scotland.
:: June 10 - Orkney, Scotland. The Islands of Orkney are a group of about 70 islands and skerries situated 10km (6.2 miles) from the north-east tip of the Scottish mainland. It boasts the UK's largest crab processing plant.
:: June 10 - Shetland, Scotland. Shetland is known as Britain's most remote inhabited island. It is also home to thousands of puffins and the islands have a reputation for attracting rare migrant birds.
:: June 11 - Isle of Lewis, Scotland.
:: June 11 - Aberdeen, Scotland.
:: June 12 - Dundee, Scotland.
:: June 13 - Edinburgh, Scotland. Arthur's Seat is one of the must-see landmarks looming over the city which annually stages the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and four-time Olympic cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy were both born in Edinburgh.
:: June 14 - Alnwick, North East.
:: June 15 - Newcastle, North East.
:: June 16 - Durham, North East.
:: June 17 - Middlesbrough, North East.
:: June 18 - Hull, Yorkshire and Humber.
:: June 19 - York, Yorkshire and Humber.
:: June 20 - Carlisle, North West.
:: June 21 - Bowness-on-Windermere, North West.
:: June 22 - Blackpool, North West. Heritage buffs may be familiar with the historic and Victorian sites including The Grand Theatre, Blackpool Tower and the crowd-pulling illuminations.
:: June 23 - Manchester, North West.
:: June 24 - Leeds, Yorkshire and Humber.
:: June 25 - Sheffield, Yorkshire and Humber. London 2012 chairman and two-time Olympic 1,500m champion Lord Coe and World champion heptathlete Jessica Ennis, who is going for gold at the the 2012 Games, are among Sheffield's track and field famous sons and daughters.
:: June 26 - Cleethorpes, Yorkshire and Humber.
:: June 27 - Lincoln, East Midlands.
:: June 28 - Nottingham, East Midlands. Nottingham's ice-skating legends Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, the 1984 Olympic ice dance champions, are among the Olympic ambassadors who will be helping give advice to Britain's 2012 hopefuls. This region is also linked with the legend of Robin Hood.
:: June 29 - Derby, East Midlands.
:: June 30 - Birmingham, West Midlands.
:: July 1 - Coventry, West Midlands.
:: July 2 - Leicester, East Midlands.
:: July 3 - Peterborough, East of England.
:: July 4 - Norwich, East of England.
:: July 5 - Ipswich, East of England.
:: July 6 - Chelmsford, East of England.
:: July 7 - Cambridge, East of England.
:: July 8 - Luton, East of England.
:: July 9 - Oxford, South East.
:: July 10 - Reading, South East.
:: July 11 - Salisbury, South West.
:: July 12 - Weymouth & Portland, South West. The London 2012 sailing competitions will be held here.
:: July 13 - Bournemouth, South West.
:: July 14 - Southampton, South East.
:: July 15 - Guernsey, South East.
:: July 15 - Jersey, South East.
:: July 15 - Portsmouth, South East. Portsmouth is home to almost two-thirds of the Royal Navy's surface ships. It is also where HMS Victory, Horatio Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar and the Royal Navy's most famous ship, is docked.
:: July 16 - Brighton & Hove, South East.
:: July 17 - Hastings, South East.
:: July 18 - Dover, South East.
:: July 19 - Maidstone, South East.
:: July 20 - Guildford, South East.
:: July 21 - Waltham Forest, London.
:: July 22 - Bexley, London.
:: July 23 - Wandsworth, London.
:: July 24 - Ealing, London.
:: July 25 - Haringey, London.
:: July 26 - Westminster, London.
:: July 27 - Opening Ceremony, Olympic Stadium.
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