Olympic torch relay: Flame welcomed in Scottish isles

The flame arrived in Orkney by air before heading to Shetland

The Olympic flame has visited its most northerly destination as it travelled around Kirkwall in Orkney and Lerwick in the Shetland Islands.

The torch was welcomed in Kirkwall on Sunday morning and in Shetland during the afternoon.

Inga Kemp was the first torchbearer of the day, setting off from St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall.

A total of 40 torchbearers covered more than 29 miles across the Northern Isles on day 23 of the relay.

Inga, 22, a keen netball and hockey player who coaches young sports enthusiasts, was cheered on by large crowds as she kicked off the day.

Olympic torch at John O'Groats

A further 20 people then carried the flame around the town.

They included Sean McFedries, 24, from Stromness, who has Down's Syndrome. He represented Orkney at the Commonwealth Games in India, as part of the Youth Group that took part in the handover ceremony.

Kari Taylor, who ran on the Kirkwall leg in place of her grandmother, Wilma, who died of cancer three weeks ago, said she hoped she had made her proud.

After its tour on Orkney, the flame was flown to Shetland where it arrived at Sumburgh Airport.

There, Zoe Buchanan, 16, carried the torch through her hometown of Lerwick.

Olympic flame flies into Orkney

She was nominated for winning a badminton gold medal, plus four other medals, at the British Transplant Games in Belfast last year.

The athlete had a kidney transplant, with her mother as donor, 17 months earlier.

Fencer Chris Rocks also carried the flame in Lerwick.

The Shetland sportsman who won the Scottish Open Championship in 2010 also represented Scotland in the Commonwealth Fencing Championships in Australia that year.

Later, after touring Lerwick, the flame took a helicopter ride back to the airport before its flight to Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis.

The torch was then lit at John O'Groats, with two torchbearers, Andrew Sinclair and Louis MacKinnon, both 18, standing by the famous John O'Groats sign surrounded by a large, cheering crowd. They both carried their torches to the delight of the onlookers.

London 2012 Olympic torch relay

Torch relay graphic relay graphic

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Labour's shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran said of the torch coming to Scotland: "It is great that the torch is in Scotland and travelling so widely in cities, towns and villages and on the islands.

"It is a great showcase for Scotland and a boost for tourism and the reaction has been incredible."

A total of 8,000 people will carry the flame during its 8,000 mile, 70-day journey to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London on 27 July.

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