London 2012: Torch relay heading for 1,000 places

Tyne Bridge, Newcastle The flame will fly off the Tyne Bridge on a zip wire

The London 2012 Olympic torch will fly by zip wire from the Tyne Bridge, ascend Snowdon by rail and cross Loch Ness during its journey around the UK.

The relay will visit UK landmarks like the Giant's Causeway and Stonehenge.

London Games organisers Locog have set out the 1,018 places the torch will pass through when it is carried around the UK from 19 May to 27 July 2012.

On the last day of the 70-day relay it will travel down the River Thames to Olympic Park for the opening ceremony.

During the 10-week relay, the torch will be carried by 8,000 torchbearers and will travel about 8,000 miles.

Locog say the torch will come within 10 miles of 95% of the population. It will go through every English county and every local authority area in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The scope of the route reaches from Lerwick, in the Shetland Islands to St Helier, Jersey, as far east as Lowestoft, Suffolk to Enniskillen, County Fermanagh.

While the communities and landmarks the torch will visit have been set out, the street-by-street detail of the route will not be confirmed until later in 2012.

London 2012 Chairman Lord Coe explains what happens if the torch goes out

Locog chair Sebastian Coe said the relay would take the 2012 Games to almost every corner of the UK, saying: "Now everyone is invited to plan their welcome and find out where they can go to be part of this historic occasion," he said.

He added on the BBC: "We originally started out by saying 95% of the population would be within an hour's journey of the route - we now have that as within 10 miles. We've got to get the torch to as many communities as possible.

"Fifty per cent of the torchbearers will be aged between 12 and 24. We are going to focus on young people, it is a young people's torch."

The flame, in the torch or Olympic lanterns, will also be transported by more novel methods including boat, bicycle, tram and train.

The flame will:

Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes said the zip-wiring torch moment planned for 15 June was a thrilling opportunity for the city to be part of Olympic history and to inspire young people.

London 2012 - Begin your journey here

London view

"There could be no more poignant backdrop for the flame than the Tyne Bridge, an enduring symbol of our people and our region," he said.

The flame will go to Snowdon on 29 May. Alun Gruffydd, of Snowdonia National Park Authority, said it was most fitting that the torch would reach the summit of Wales' most iconic landmark.

"The Snowdonia landscape is here for everybody to enjoy and it is hoped that the 2012 Olympics will inspire people to keep active and experience our breathtaking countryside," he said.

Peter Carson, head of Stonehenge, where the torch will appear early on 12 July, said it was particularly relevant for the torch to visit the site as during London's bid for the Olympic Games it played a part in showing the UK's history and culture.

"We're delighted that having been part of this for the past seven years, the torch will come and visit us," he said.

Torchbearers wait

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, said the Olympic flame's arrival in the UK on 18 May 2012 would "mark the final countdown to the greatest sporting event the country will host in our lifetime".

"The Olympic Torch Relay will be an amazing opportunity for people to see the Olympic flame in their own towns and communities," he said.

In keeping with tradition, the Olympic flame will be lit in Olympia, Greece, in May 2012, and be flown to the UK on 18 May.

Iconic places the torch will visit during next year's relay

The 70-day torch relay begins early on 19 May at Land's End and, after covering the country, spends a week touring London before making a final journey on 27 July from Hampton Court Palace to Olympic Park, for the opening of the Games.

People nominated to carry the torch will be contacted with a conditional offer in December and their places confirmed from February.

Locog has also launched its Local Leaders programme, to invite people to organise torch relay and other Games celebrations within their communities, as well as its Get Set for the Olympic Torch Relay education kits for teachers.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    Its difficult to imagine the olympic site being put in a more inaccessable place than the east end of London - still aghast at the planning 3 years on. I'll see the torch if I can but refuse to get mixed up with traffic chaos & high hotel prices of London.

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    It's very silly that people complain about London being the venue. As the capital and by far the biggest urban area in the country a lot of high profile events will take place here. Truth is bids from other cities probably wouldn't have succeeded. More to the point though I can't think of another place that is more accessible to the majority of people in the country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    It must surely be a positive thing that the world's nations are brought together for this event? My only gripe is that as with most major events in Britain, whether new plays and films, major concerts or exhibitions, London is the venue. Yes, it is the nation's capital, but it is not the centre of the country, and is therefore not easily accessible to the majority of the nation's people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    So far the planning of the London Olympics has been great, sports clubs & swimming pools have been saved (in return for backing 2012), tickets sold out (even obscure events) and now the torch relay is a PR coup.

    You'd be a fool not to see the torch going through your town or watch beach volleyball at Horse Guards Parade etc. it'll be an excellent show & probably the last in UK will host.


  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    Once there might have been a time when i was interested in the olympics, but alas no more. It`s been turned into a corporate money making machine whose sole purpose is to extract as much money it can from this event. The ideals and sportsmanship of the olympiad are as far removed from the modern olympics as the timeline between 776 BC and 2012 AD.


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