London 2012 Olympic torch relay route revealed
- 18 May 2011
- From the section UK
The first 74 locations on the 2012 Olympics torch relay route, starting at Land's End, have been revealed.
The route, which covers every nation and region in the UK and includes island visits, will see the Olympic torch travel 8,000 miles (12,800 km).
Organisers stress the route details are not comprehensive and more places to be visited will be named in coming months.
A search for 8,000 "inspirational torchbearers" has also been launched, half of whom will be aged 12-24.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog) said the Olympic flame would come within a one-hour journey of 95% of people in the UK.
The torch will leave Land's End, Cornwall, on the morning of Saturday 19 May 2012 - the day after it arrives in the UK from Greece.
During the 70-day torch relay, it will pass through towns and cities including Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, Belfast, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Newcastle, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Oxford, Southampton and Dover.
The 2012 torch - which is being created by east London designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby and is due to be unveiled in June - will travel for about 12 hours a day, arriving at the Olympic Stadium on 27 July for the lighting of the cauldron at the opening ceremony.
Locog said the route would also include six island visits - to the Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey, Shetland, Orkney and the Isle of Lewis.
Meanwhile, the feasibility of taking the Olympic flame on a short visit to Dublin is still being explored.
Thousands of people are expected to celebrate along the route, with shows and concerts planned on 66 of the 70 days.
"It's a 70-day journey of celebration," said Lord Coe, chairman of Locog.
He told BBC Breakfast: "I think the thing we have learned from other relays is it's releasing that creativity, the excitement, in people's backyards. I have seen that from relays around the world and I really do want to replicate that."
He added: "The stopovers at night, there will be a party atmosphere, there will be stage shows, there will be the opportunity to showcase local talent."
The flame will be carried by 8,000 torchbearers, 7,200 of whom will be members of the public, nominated by people who know them.
Half of the torchbearer places are expected to go to people aged between 12 and 24 years of age "who are considered leading lights in their local communities," said Locog, which has launched a nominations website.
The BBC's Sports News Correspondent Gordon Farquhar said almost 6,000 of the places would be distributed by three sponsors: Coca-Cola, Samsung and Lloyds TSB.
Hugh Robertson, minister for sport and the Olympics, said the relay would "bring 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," he said.
A second, more detailed route will be revealed later this year.
In addition to the 74 locations already revealed, Locog said the torch would also pass through many cities, towns, villages and places of outstanding natural beauty - as well as sports venues and community hubs.
The origins of the Olympic torch relay look back to ancient Greece, when messengers were sent out from Olympia to announce the competition dates and call for a halt to all wars during the Games.
The relay was revived for modern times at the 1936 Berlin Games, and since then has grown into a popular curtain-raiser to the sporting events.
The design of the torch has changed with each Games, sometimes reflecting classical torches, at other times taking on a contemporary look.
The 2012 torch's designers, Barber and Osgerby, won a competitive tender launched last year for the torch design role. They are also working on designs around the Paralympic torch relay.
For the modern Olympic Games, the flame is lit in Olympia from the Sun's rays using a parabolic mirror and then taken on a relay around Greece.
Unlike some previous relays, the 2012 torch will not go round the world.
At the end of the Greek tour, the flame will be taken straight to the UK.