Olympic torch: Ellen MacArthur carries flame in Cowes

Dame Ellen MacArthur Dame Ellen MacArthur was the last runner on the Isle of Wight

Yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur was cheered on as she ran with the Olympic flame in East Cowes when the torch relay reached the Isle of Wight.

The flame was also taken on a cliff top chair-lift at The Needles when it arrived on the island en-route from Bournemouth to Southampton.

Sailing Olympian Shirley Robertson carried the flame in Newport.

The day began at Bournemouth Pier and the 59-mile route will include a stop at Southampton football club's ground.

The flame travelled through 12 communities on Saturday: Bournemouth, Boscombe, Christchurch, Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst, Lymington, Totland, Yarmouth, Carisbrooke, Newport, East Cowes and Southampton.

At midday the convoy boarded a ferry from Lymington to the Isle of Wight.

And fittingly, it was there that sailor Dame Ellen joined the relay in East Cowes which is famous for its week-long regatta.

Cowes has hosted the sailing event since 1826 and it is now the largest of its kind in the world.

Dame Ellen is best-known as a solo long-distance yachtswoman, who once held the world record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe.

She said after carrying the torch: "The other torchbearers are inspiring people who were wonderful to meet but the strongest impression I have from today are the faces - smiles, smiles and more smiles from young and old alike.

"The sense of pride, happiness and community was my lasting feeling - all brought alive, in an instant, by the Olympic torch."

Another of Britain's finest sailors, Ms Robertson, was among the day's 92 torchbearers. She was the first British woman to win two Olympic gold medals at consecutive games - in Sydney 2000 and then four years later in Athens.

London 2012 Olympic torch relay

Torch relay graphic relay graphic

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Other highlights of the relay's journey on the Isle of Wight included a visit to Osborne House - which was built as a summer residence and retreat for Queen Victoria, who died there in 1901, and Prince Albert - and a trip for two torchbearers on The Needles chair-lift at Alum Bay beach.

Blue Peter's Big Olympic Tour was due to have been held at Osborne House but was moved to Bournemouth when the site became waterlogged.

Later in Southampton, the flame was exchanged by the side of the pitch at St Mary's Stadium between Alice Constance, 29, from Chepstow and Nicholas Nuttall, 53, from Southwater.

The evening celebration at Mayflower Park included performances from Wretch 32 - a dance troupe who will provide a unique fusion of street performance, theatre and sport - and dance act Twist and Pulse.

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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