Queen’s Baton Relay reaches West Lothian

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The Queen’s Baton was welcomed to West Lothian on Sunday as it continued its tour of Scotland after a 248-day journey around the Commonwealth.

Comedian Rhona Cameron kick-started the day, carrying the baton in South Queensferry.

Kimberley Reed holds the Queens Baton high as she enjoys her chance to carry it through Edinburgh. Pic: SNS

Kimberley Reed holds the Queens Baton high as she enjoys her chance to carry it through Edinburgh. Pic: SNS

It was then taken towards Bathagte and East Whitburn and is set to visit Armadale’s Sports and Community Centre.

A celebration was also taking place at Linlithgow Palace, which was hosting family activities.

People of all ages revelled in the chance to hold the historic baton as it weaved around Edinburgh on Saturday after crossing the border first thing this morning.

The official countdown to the Glasgow 2014 games started when Triple Commonwealth gold medallist Daley Thompson passed the baton to Team Scotland athlete Eilidh Child at the border at Coldstream.

14/06/14'EDINBURGH'Scottish TV star Lorraine Kelly embraces 87 year old John Smith as the Queens Baton is passed in Edinburgh city centre

14/06/14'EDINBURGH'Scottish TV star Lorraine Kelly embraces 87 year old John Smith as the Queens Baton is passed in Edinburgh city centre

It arrived in a convoy at Heriot Watt University to kick off the Edinburgh leg of proceedings, with around 1000 people gathering to cheer on the students and local school children who had been chosen for the honour.

Currie Community High pupil Cameron Finlayson, who was nominated by his school for his dedication to swimming, was the first to take the baton. The 16-year-old - whose grandfather Richard was running with the baton on Victoria Street on Saturday evening - said: “It was amazing, great fun. It was a once-in-a-lifetime. I was getting a bit nervous beforehand.”

The whistle-stop tour of the city continued with the baton being taken on a tram from Murrayfield to Shandwick Place, where bearer Michael Laing stepped off to walk towards the West End of Princes Street.

It was a particularly proud moment for the grandfather, who designed the baton for the 1986 games in the capital.

Batonbearer 019 Allan Dick carries the Glasgow 2014 Queen's Baton through City Centre in Edinburgh. The batonbearer's name has been provided in good faith, however it has not been independently verified. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 14, 2014. Photo credit should read: David Cheskin for Glasgow 2014/PA Wire'Copyright Glasgow2014, 2014, All rights reserved.

Batonbearer 019 Allan Dick carries the Glasgow 2014 Queen's Baton through City Centre in Edinburgh. The batonbearer's name has been provided in good faith, however it has not been independently verified. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 14, 2014. Photo credit should read: David Cheskin for Glasgow 2014/PA Wire'Copyright Glasgow2014, 2014, All rights reserved.

As the procession snaked along Lothian Road and down Bread Street to the Grassmarket, shop workers stood outside to cheer and even motorists got involved in the party atmosphere by tooting their horns at participants.

Judy Arrowsmith, who will celebrate her 70th birthday tomorrow, was among the baton bearers on Lothian Road.

The former international netball player, who was selected for her involvement in the guide movement and extensive voluntary work in Malaysia and Malawi, said: “It was wonderful. I thought it was going to be an honour, but it was also really moving. It was a delight. It’s a wonderful birthday present.”

Before its trip down the Royal Mile, the baton visited the Castle as a 21-gun salute was fired to mark the Queen’s official birthday.

Batonbearer 019 Allan Dick passes the Glasgow 2014 Queen's Baton to Batonbearer 020 Michael Laing OBE DL in Edinburgh. The batonbearer's name has been provided in good faith, however it has not been independently verified. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 14, 2014. Photo credit should read: David Cheskin for Glasgow 2014/PA Wire'Copyright Glasgow2014, 2014, All rights reserved.

Batonbearer 019 Allan Dick passes the Glasgow 2014 Queen's Baton to Batonbearer 020 Michael Laing OBE DL in Edinburgh. The batonbearer's name has been provided in good faith, however it has not been independently verified. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 14, 2014. Photo credit should read: David Cheskin for Glasgow 2014/PA Wire'Copyright Glasgow2014, 2014, All rights reserved.

The District Gunner, Sergeant David Beveridge, who fires the Castle’s famous One O’Clock Gun, held the baton as the salute was fired by 105 Regiment Royal Artillery.

Sgt Beveridge carried the baton to the Castle drawbridge - accompanied by members of the Lowland Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland - before passing it on to TV celebrity Lorraine Kelly.

Mrs Kelly joked that there were a lot of “bemused tourists” who did not know about the event as the crowds gathered along the popular spot.

She added: “I was really honoured to be asked. I was enjoying coming down the Mile, it was so relaxed. There were so many kids on the way, wanting to touch the baton.”

Many of tourists on the bustling Royal Mile seized the opportunity to get some pictures of the historic procession as Mrs Kelly passed on the baton to inspirational 87-year-old John Smith, who waved as he completed his stint in his kilt.

Next on the tour was the Parliament and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, before the relay arrived at Meadowbank Stadium, the home of the 1986 Commonwealth games.

The baton sets off from Heriot Watt. Picture: Kaye Nicholson

The baton sets off from Heriot Watt. Picture: Kaye Nicholson

Minutes before the parliament leg of the relay, former Scotland international rugby player Gavin Hastings officially launched the “school run”, which saw around 2000 children run to Meadowbank Stadium.

The venue was a hive of activity throughout the afternoon, with scores of baton beater completing laps of the track as DJs played music and children tried out different sports on the grass pitch.

First Minister Alex Salmond was among the visitors to Meadowbank, where he, cabinet secretary for Commonwealth Games and Sports Shona Robison MSP and Cllr Steve Cardownie, the council’s festival and events champion, got to handle some of the batons from previous Games.

Cllr Cardownie said: “It’s great. Everyone is thoroughly enjoying themselves. We are giving the clear impression that Edinburgh is embracing the games. We are delighted to be hosting the diving at the Royal Commonwealth Pool this will be the third time that the venue has been used, which is unique in the history of the games.”

Ms Robison said she was delighted with how well today’s events had been organised.

She said: “If the other 39 days are anything like today then it will be a huge boost to the games. People want to be a part of it.”

The baton then left the stadium, travelling along London Road and down Leith Walk to visit the Leith Festival.

It was driven by convoy to Portobello where a raft of entertainment lined the route, before being driven to Holyrood Park Road and then carried to the Royal Commonwealth Pool for a swimming display.

Saturday evening was set to see it carried through the Meadows and down to West Princes Street Gardens, where there will be an evening event at the Ross Bandstand with a packed programme.

The full route

10am The baton arrives at Heriot Watt from Coldstream. The University is hosting a Family Fun Day from 9.00am – 12.30pm. The baton will be taken in relay along The Avenue.

10.46am MURRAYFIELD TRAM STATION. Baton travels on tram 2 stops, arriving at SHANDWICK PLACE. It then goes along Lothian Road, Bread Street, to the Grassmarket, up Victoria Street and onto George IV Bridge before making its way up the Lawnmarket.

11.45am: Baton arrives at The Hub, Castlehill. Travels by car to the Castle, arriving at 11.55am.

There will be a 21 gun salute for the Queen’s birthday and inspection of the troops. The baton is then piped through the castle and down the esplanade.

12.30 Baton leaves the Castle and is taken by baton bearers down the Royal Mile to the Scottish Parliament. A guard of honour of schoolchildren will cheer ex-rugby internationalist Gavin Hastings down the Canongate on the baton’s way to the Scottish Parliament debating chamber.

13.15 leaves the Scottish Parliament and crosses road to Holyroodhouse.

13.29 leaves Holyroodhouse for Meadowbank. Up to 3000 schoolchildren will be taking part in a 2.2k from the Palace to Meadowbank, starting at Holyrood Park just before 1pm. Baton bearers will run alongside, travelling along Queen’s Drive, Duke’s Way, Meadowbank Terrace and turning onto London Road.

13.48 Baton arrives at Meadowbank Sports Centre. The schoolchildren, young people and their families will have the chance to try the 14 commonwealth games sports in an event that runs until 5pm. First Minister and Cabinet Sec. for sport.

15.04 Baton leaves Meadowbank, with baton bearers running along London Road to Elm Row, along Leith Walk and then onto Duke Street. From there thy travel onto Vanburgh Place and Hermitage Place.

15.50 - 16.10. The baton makes appearance at Leith Festival at Hermitage Place before heading along East Hermitage Place, Gladstone Place, Claremont Park to Seafield Place.

At the end of Seafield Place, the baton will be driven by convoy to King’s Road in Portobello.

16.20 Baton arrives at Portobello Promenade and travels along to the Leisure Centre where it will be met with an oar guard of honour from Portobello Sailing and Kayaking club. Samba bands and entertainment will line the route.

From there the baton heads onto Joppa Road to Abercorn Terrace, along Portobello High Street and to Brighton Place. It then heads along Southfield Place, Duddingston Road and Duddingston Road West to Old Church Lane and Duddingston Low Road where it will be driven by convoy to Holyrood Park Road.

Baton bearers will then carry it to Dalkeith Road.

17.46 Baton arrives at the Royal Commonwealth Pool for a half hour visit. Sir Peter Heatly, a former Games gold medalist and his grandson james heatly who will be diving in his first Commonwealth Games, will by joined by Grace Reid, who trains with James at the RCP. There will be a display of synchronised diving to music by Edinburgh Diving Club. Event is free and open to the public.

18.32 Leaves Commonwealth Pool. The baton will head along East Preston Street towards Summerhall Place, Melville Drive to the Meadows. Bearers will run with it along Middle Meadows Walk, Forest Road and along George IV Bridge.

They will then carry it onto Bank Street, North Bank Street and down the Mound before turning left into West Princes Street Gardens.

It will pass the floral clock, heading along the top level path beofre turning towards the Ross Bandstand, arriving at around 18.00 for the Queen’s Baton Relay Evening Celebrations which features a programme of sports personalities, special guests and an attempt at an unofficial world record Haka.

Sunday, June 15.

8.35am Baton leaves the city boundaries from Hawes Pier at South Queensferry, bound for West Lothian. A choir will perform at the RNLI station as part of the Big Song relay.

8.55am Baton arrives at Broxburn United Sports Ground, Albyn Park in Broxburn. A community event of football, boxing, sport demonstrations and Zumba will begin at 8.45am until 11am.

9.15am Baton heads from Albyn Park onto Greendykes Road, East Main Street to Union Canal bridge and then Goschen Place.

9.45 am Baton arrives at Ecclesmachan Road junction on its way to Uphall Golf Club for 9.55am.

10.30 Baton arrives in Linlithgow where it will be carried along Riccarton Road and on to a canal boat at Preston Road.

11.10 Baton leaves the boat at the Canal Basin and heads along Back Station Road.

11.20 Baton makes its way along the High Street to Kirkgate.

11.25 Arrives at Linlithgow Peel for a community celebration of music, archery, rugby, football, bike skills and water sports. Pupils from local schools will perform. Event runs from 11am to 2pm.

12.30 Baton leaves the Peel for the High Street and Mains Road.

12.50 Arrives North Street, Armadale.

13.00 Arrives at the Community Centre and Armadale Thistle’s ground Volunteer Park, where local superheroes will be attempting a world record ‘Superman Dance’. Events at the park begin at 11am. Armadale Community Centre, 11am-3.30pm: Song for Armadale competition semi final and ‘come and try’ sessions. Xcite Armadale 9am-4pm is offering free joining fee for the gym, free swim passes and fitness testing.

13.20 Baton continues on West Main Street bound for Armadale Academy Sport Hub where a National Soccer 7s Football tournament will be running throughout the day.

14.10 Baton arrives at King George V Park, Whitburn. Various sports demonstrations and fitness classes will be running from 12.45 until 14.15pm.

14.35 Stewart Drive to West Main Street where bands and choirs will perform along the route, Xcite Whitburn is running various events throughout the day, including art and craft sessions, DJ and spinning sessions.

14.40 Baton arrives at East Whitburn, kicking off a family fun event at the Community Centre.

15.00 Baton arrives at Kirkton park, Bathgate. A live music festival is on from noon until 5pm, with poetry, tennis, cardio sessions and races.

15.30 Baton makes its way along Edinburgh Road to Steelyard, where there will be sports demonstrations including wheelchair basketball and music from 2pm until 5pm.

15.50 Baton leaves Steelyard and George Street. heads along Hopetoun Street to Torphichen Street.

16.20 Baton passes Balbardie Primary where a series of come and try sports sessions will run throughout the afternoon.

16.25. Arrives at Xcite Bathgate sport Centre in Torphichen Road. The centre is running an open day of fitness instruction, sport demonstrations, stalls and music throughout the day until 9pm.

LIVINGSTON

17.30 Baton travels along Almondvale Boulevard cheered on by local school pupils, bands and sports groups before arriving at the Skate Park, where there will be pro-skating demos and DJ.

Events will be held throughout the afternoon at The Centre and Livingston Designer Outlet, including dance flashmobs, gymnastic displays and sports activities.

18.00 Relay heads to the Civic Centre and Howden South Road, due to arrive at Howden Park at 18.30. A party kicks off there at 16.00 with sport, music and the day’s ‘closing ceremony’.

For more details see www.westlothian.gov.uk/queensbatonrelay

Rhona Cameron got the West Lothian leg under way. Pic: PA

Rhona Cameron got the West Lothian leg under way. Pic: PA