The London 2012 Olympic torch relay route has been revealed – showing the flame’s epic 8,000-mile journey from Land’s End to the Olympic Stadium which will herald the start of the Games.
The Olympic torch will arrive from Greece a year from today and the relay will begin in Land’s End, Cornwall, continuing for 70 days until arriving in London for the 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony on July 27.
The Olympic torch relay will cover every nation and region in the UK – as well as some landmarks and beauty spots – and will pass within a hour’s travelling distance from 95% of the population.
The torch relay will see thousands of people turn out to celebrate along the route, with shows and concerts planned on 66 of the 70 days.
Today, officials revealed the first 74 locations of the route, which include Aberdeen, Bristol, Belfast, Glasgow, Cardiff, Liverpool, Newcastle, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Oxford, Southampton and Dover.
Off-shore, the Olympic torch will pass through the Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey, Shetland, Orkney and the Isle of Lewis.
The 2012 torch will travel for about 12 hours a day before arriving at the Olympic Stadium for the lighting of the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony.
Organisers are now looking for 8,000 “inspirational torchbearers” to carry the Olympic flame. Details of the nomination process will be revealed later today on the London 2012 website.
London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe said: “The Olympic Flame will shine a light right across every nation and region of the UK and showcase the very best of who we are and where we live.
“The first locations on the route confirmed today give a flavour of the reach the Olympic Torch Relay will have around the UK and how extensive the opportunity for starting to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games will be.”
What is the Olympic torch relay?
The Olympic torch relay began in ancient Greece, when messengers went forth from Olympia with flames to announce Games and call for a halt to all wars for their duration.
The relay was revived for the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and since then has become an integral part of the event.
Designs for the torch chance with each host city and often reflect a theme.
The 2012 Olympic torch is being created by east London designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby – who won a competition for the coveted job – and will be unveiled in June.
The Olympic flame has been transported by ski, parachute, steamboat, wagon, camel and has even been underwater into space.
Feel free to turn up and watch the Olympic torch relay. But don’t touch. Watch and learn… (Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010)