Embarking on an epic global journey
Editor's Note - Mark Beaumont is an adventurer and documentary maker. Here, the broadcaster reveals how he'll be working with the BBC providing coverage of the Queen's Baton Relay in the run up to the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
What adventure are you going on next Mark?
Someone asks me this every day. Now I can finally tell all…
Starting on October 9th, I'm on a journey throughout the Commonwealth – once again sharing the whole experience online, radio and television with the BBC. I once thought that pedaling 18,000 miles around the world involved a lot of countries, but this really is the most ambitious travel schedule I have ever imagined: 118,000 miles; 71 destinations; in just 288 days.
The Commonwealth Games are coming to Glasgow, Scotland in the summer of 2014. This may be news to you, which is one of my main motivations for exploring the Commonwealth and in doing so building the knowledge and excitement ahead of my home games. I am backed by a great team currently working hard at BBC Scotland, but will be working with many of the BBC programme teams across the UK as the journey progresses.
I am not taking any credit for dreaming up this huge adventure. The Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) has happened in some form since the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. The tradition is for the Head of the Commonwealth, currently Queen Elizabeth ll, to write a message that is carried within a baton, by relay runners, until it is finally read aloud to officially open the Games. Imagine a truly international Olympic Torch, but without the fire hazard!
Most people know the word Commonwealth, but do we know what it is? What is the modern Commonwealth? What holds this essentially disparate spread of 71 nations and territories, that compromises a third of the world’s population, in union?
No matter where I have travelled in the world or what I have been doing there, it is always the people I meet who make it special for me. I am particularly looking forward to following the Queen’s Baton Relay as it travels around the globe giving me a chance to meet some of the two billion people who make up the Commonwealth. It is such a privilege to be part of one of the greatest traditions of the Commonwealth Games and to be able to immerse myself in the diversity of the cultures that form this unique group of inter-connected countries.
Wherever you live in the Commonwealth, or out, you are welcome to be a part of my QBR journey as it happens. I will be sharing as much as I can. My hope is that this will be inspiring, engaging, fun, thought-provoking and if possible, make our world a little better understood.
It’s a hugely ambitious travel and broadcasting project. I’ll be presenting many programmes across the baton’s epic global journey, including The One Show, BBC Breakfast, Radio 2 and Radio Scotland, along with BBC News outlets, and online. You will also be able to see video updates of the journey online with even more activity as the baton reaches the UK. There will be events across the country, and as the baton reaches the home straight in Scotland.
So be a part of it. The journey begins on October 9th.
Mark Beaumont is @MrMarkBeaumont on Twitter