London 2012: Olympic flame heading for Snowdon summit

A Snowdon Mountain Railway engine and carriages
Image caption The Snowdon Mountain Railway will carry the Olympic flame in a lantern

The Olympic flame will be taken by rail to the summit of Snowdon, the highest point of the 2012 torch relay route.

More than 80 towns, villages and cities across Wales have been promised a glimpse of the torch next year.

It will arrive in Monmouth on 25 May, travelling through south and west Wales, up Cardigan Bay and across north Wales, leaving Welshpool on 30 May.

The torch will travel by boat on the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct near Wrexham, and on a Ceredigion Cob horse in Aberaeron.

Full details of the torch relay route have been confirmed by Locog, the organising committee of the 2012 London games.

Round the nation

After starting in Land's End on 19 May 2012, the Olympic torch will cross into Wales six days later when the relay arrives in Monmouth from Ross-on-Wye.

As announced in May, the torch will stop overnight at Cardiff, Swansea, Aberystwyth and Bangor before the bearers run across north Wales to spend the night in Chester on 29 May.

The relay will then return to Wales the following day on a route passing through Wrexham, Oswestry and Welshpool before crossing the border again towards Shrewsbury.

Major celebratory events are planned for the towns and cities hosting the overnight stops, with thousands expected to gather on the streets of all communities on the route.

One of the highlights will come on 29 May when the Snowdon Mountain Railway will carry the Olympic flame in a lantern to the summit.

Before then, torch bearer will carry the flame on a Ceredigon Cob horse in Aberaeron and, on its last day in Wales, on a hand-drawn boat across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, near Wrexham.

Civic leaders from Wrexham will gather at Thomas Telford's 200-year-old landmark on Monday to celebrate the relay's route through the borough.

The announcement of Bangor and Chester as overnight stops for the torch relay prompted concern that the largest town in north Wales could be bypassed.

Councillor Bob Dutton, Wrexham council's lead member for communities and performance, said: "This announcement and the news that three other communities in Wrexham will play host to the Olympic Flame is a great honour for the area."

Lord Coe, chairman of Locog, said: "We are thrilled to confirm that the Olympic Flame will be visiting the famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct as part of its journey around the UK.

"We have worked hard to devise a route that achieves the optimum mix of proximity to people whilst taking in diversity of the UK's landscape and landmarks, and by taking in this area and Telford's alternative mode of transport we are doing just that."

'Great memories'

Lynn Davies, who won Olympic gold in the long jump at the 1964 Tokyo Games, said he was delighted that the relay would visit his home village of Nantymoel, near Bridgend.

Davies, president of UK Athletics and an Olympic ambassador, said: "It's great that the torch is coming all around Wales, to Cardiff, Swansea, Aberystwyth and north Wales.

"But to come to the small mining community where I'm from is wonderful.

"It's wonderful that the young people there will be able to watch this quite iconic Olympic torch being carried through the Ogmore Valley and thru Nantymoel itself.

"If I can, I'd love to be there because of the great memories of growing up there as a young boy."

Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan said: "As it travels around Wales it is not only a fantastic opportunity for everyone nearby to be involved, but it will showcase the beauty of Wales to the world, so that many more people will see what a great social and cultural place Wales is."

Caerphilly Castle will host a special event at 1000 on Monday to celebrate its inclusion on the relay route.

Eleven time Paralympic gold medallist David Roberts, a member of Caerphilly swimming club, will attend, along with athlete Jamie Baulch, Welsh rugby legend Gerald Davies, and local children who have made their own torches.

About 500 runners are expected to carry the Olympic torch during its tour of Wales.

The public have been invited to nominate people who they feel deserve to be torch bearers.

Although the route visits all 22 local authorities in Wales and takes in most of the major towns and cities, areas likely to miss out include the Powys towns of Brecon, Llandrindod Wells and Newtown, the Anglesey port of Holyhead, and Ebbw Vale.

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