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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