Olympic torch: Flame completes longest relay journey

Commonwealth gold medallist Kirsty Wade took the flame to the Callanish Standing Stones as the sun rose
Image caption,
Commonwealth gold medallist Kirsty Wade took the flame to the Callanish Standing Stones as the sun rose

The Olympic flame completed its longest single journey of the relay as it travelled from Stornoway to Aberdeen on day 24 of the 70-day tour of the UK.

It covered more than 400 miles (644km) as it travelled from the Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles.

Windy conditions put out two flames in lanterns at the Callanish Standing Stones monument , prompting an emergency dash to collect a spare flame.

About 75 people had gathered at the stones to see the torch lit at sunrise.

Members of the torch security team battled against the elements to ensure Commonwealth triple gold medallist Kirsty Wade, 49, was able to hold the flame as the sun rose at about 04:20 BST.

A lone piper played as middle distance runner Wade, who competed in the 1988 Seoul and 1992 Barcelona Olympics, held a torch aloft at the central stone circle, which is thought to date back to 3000 BC.

Balmoral Castle

Wade was later greeted with huge cheers as she ran with the torch on the third leg of the relay through Stornoway.

Later, Eilidh Mackenzie, 23, who is from the town, started the relay at the front of the Western Isles Council building.

The track and field athlete is currently aiming to represent Scotland in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

As it travelled through the town, it stopped at Lewis Castle College before European quad bike champion John Mitchell rode out of the campus holding the flame.

The flame also stopped at the Cairngorms National Park, along Royal Deeside - home of Balmoral Castle - but no Royal Family members will be in residence.

Image caption,
European quad bike champion John Mitchell rode out of Lewis Castle College with the flame

Professional golfer Colin Montgomerie OBE carried the flame through Aberdeen - as one of the 109 torchbearers.

Montgomerie captained the 2010 Ryder Cup Team and has won the European Order of Merit eight times. He has also won 41 tournaments around the world.

After the flame left Stornoway, it flew to Inverness on the mainland.

From there it visited Aviemore, Carrbridge, Grantown-on-Spey, Carrbridge, Grantown-on-Spey, Tomintoul, Crathie, Ballater, Dinnet, Aboyne, Kincardine O'Neil, Banchory, Drumoak, Peterculter, Bieldside and Cults.

The day's relay ended in Aberdeen at Castlegate Square for an evening celebration at 20:00 BST.

Torchbearer Evelyn Capper, 60, lit a cauldron at the event and performances came from singer Emeli Sande 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.

On Sunday the torch went to its most northern destination as it travelled around Kirkwall in Orkney and Lerwick in the Shetland Islands . A total of 40 torchbearers covered more than 29 miles across the Northern Isles on day 23 of the relay.

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