London 2012: Scotland marks Games opening

The Red Arrows perform a flypast in Edinburgh to mark opening ceremony day of the Olympic Games

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Celebrations marking the start of the 2012 Olympic Games in London have taken place across Scotland.

The Red Arrows aerobatic display team passed over Edinburgh as part of a UK-wide flyover.

Cities and towns across Scotland and the rest of the UK also took part in a three-minute bell-ringing event to celebrate the occasion.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond sent a good luck message to the "Scolympians" competing in the games.

Four Olympic football matches have already been played at Scotland's national stadium, Hampden Park.

Medal hopes for Scottish athletes, who compete as part of Team GB, include track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, tennis star Andy Murray and Hannah Miley, the swimmer.

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The Red Arrows flew over Edinburgh's Holyrood Park at 12:33, on a route also taking in the Scottish Parliament, the Royal Mile, the castle and Festival Square.

At 08:12 people across Scotland took part in the bell-ringing event, inspired by Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed.

They had been asked to ring whatever bells they like as quickly and as loudly as possible.

The precise time was chosen because it was 12 hours before the time 20:12 is displayed on a 24-hour clock, while the ringing of bells has often been used to mark special moments in time, such as the end of World War II.

Bell-ringing locations included the Scottish Parliament, Queen's Park Baptist Church in Glasgow, Aberdeen Art Gallery and Dundee Contemporary Arts.

Fiona Bradley, from the Fruit Market Gallery in Edinburgh, was among those taking part in the event.

She told BBC Scotland: "It is about joining in. It is about showing that art isn't something to be scared of, that art is something that makes itself in front of you, with you, while you look at it and join in.

"It seems to me pretty much absolutely about what art is about."

'Elite band'

At Skaw Beach on Unst in Shetland, the most northerly inhabited island of the UK, a single bell was due to ring out but instead a small crowd of about 30 people turned up with bells and chimes.

Bell ringing in Longformacus in the Lammermuir hills in the Scottish Borders Bells up and down the country rang out to mark the start of the Games

In the Scottish Borders, local farmer Andrew Rodger took time out from his morning livestock checking rounds to ring the bell at the country kirk in Longformacus in the Lammermuir hills.

In Mr Salmond's message to Scotland's 54 Olympic and 23 Paralympic athletes - who he described as the "Scolympians" - the first minister urged them to go for gold.

He said: "You join an elite band of Scottish sporting heroes, from Eric Liddell's movie-inspiring win in Paris in 1924, to Sir Chris Hoy's record breaking four gold medals, we are proud of the Scottish talent hailing from our shores."

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont also wished Team GB well.

She added: "Whilst we will be keeping an especially keen eye on our Scottish competitors, the enthusiasm that thousands of Scots showed as the Olympic torch travelled across Scotland again showed the universal appeal of sport and the Games."

Edinburgh's Festival Square hosted Games opening event celebrations from 18:00, featuring live music and the showing of the ceremony itself on a big screen.

In Dumfries, the ceremony was to be shown on a special screen set up at the Midsteeple in the town centre.

As well as live coverage from London, there will be music from a number of local bands.

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