Glasgow 2014: Queen launches Commonwealth Games baton relay

The Queen inserted her message into the baton during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace

The Queen's Baton Relay - heralding the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow - has been launched at Buckingham Palace.

The baton contains the Queen's hand-written message to the Commonwealth and will visit all 70 competing nations and territories over the next 288 days.

It will travel to Scotland on Thursday before heading to India for its first international stopover on 11 October.

The baton's journey will end at the opening ceremony on 23 July 2014, when the Queen will read the message inside.

The empty baton was escorted to Buckingham Palace by pipers and cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, a six-time Olympic Gold and double Commonwealth Gold medallist.

During the launch ceremony, the President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Prince Imran of Malaysia, said the relay had power and meaning.

The story of the Commonwealth Queen's baton

"The relay unites two billion citizens of the Commonwealth in a celebration of sport, diversity and peace," he said.

"It will also bring the 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth together.

"Every time the baton is passed it will cement the Commonwealth friendship and reinforce the ways in which we are connected."

The ceremony also heard from Lord Smith of Kelvin, chairman of games organiser Glasgow 2014.

The Queen and Commonwealth baton

He said: "The spirit of friendship that will be displayed as the baton is passed from hand to hand reflects the warm welcome that nations and territories of the Commonwealth can expect when they come to Glasgow and to Scotland next summer.

"This is a historic moment for Glasgow 2014. We will treasure it and we look forward to following closely the Queen's baton relay on its momentous journey."

Following the speeches, the Queen placed the hand-written scroll, which contains her message to the Commonwealth, inside the baton.

It was then sealed for its journey of more than 190,000km through Commonwealth territories in Asia, Oceania, Africa, North and South America and the Caribbean.

The first baton bearer was Alan Wells, the Scottish sprinter who won gold in the men's 100m at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.

Alan Wells carries the baton from Buckingham Palace The first bearer Alan Wells carries the baton from Buckingham Palace

He said: "As the final runner of the Queen's Baton Relay (QBR) at the last Commonwealth Games on Scottish soil in Edinburgh in 1986, the baton and what it symbolises is incredibly special for me.

"It is a real honour for me to now be named as the first baton-bearer for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games."

Wells handed the baton on to Scottish swimmer Caitlin McLatchey, who won two gold medals at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

A short relay then took place up and down The Mall involving Scottish athletes Cara Kennedy (artistic gymnast), Morgan McKinnon (triple jump) and Ruairi Kirkwood (swimming).

Other participants included Izzy Conway, a volunteer or Clydesider at the games, Aamir Meymood, the 13-year-old Shawlands Academy pupil who designed the Glasgow 2014 tartan, games ambassador Julie McIlroy and 12-year-old Beth Gilmour, who will be accompanied by games mascot Clyde, whom she designed.

commonwealth games baton relay map

Those attending the ceremony included Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond.

'Momentous year'

He said: "The start of the Queen's Baton Relay, with two of Scotland's greatest-ever athletes, is another step towards what will be a momentous year for Scotland.

"2014 promises the greatest-ever Games and the relay will provide a fantastic celebration of sport and culture across the Commonwealth, with Glasgow and Scotland at its heart."

During its international journey the baton will spend an average of one to four days in each nation, with an extended duration of seven days in Wales, two weeks in England and 40 days in Scotland.

It will not stopover in the Gambia, which last week withdrew from the Commonwealth, saying it will "never be a member of any neo-colonial institution".

The baton has a lattice design, made from layers of titanium fused together by laser, which means the message is visible.

Mark Beaumont

The baton's journey around the globe will be documented by adventurer and broadcaster Mark Beaumont for the BBC.

The designers said the message from the Queen was "pivotal" and they were keen it should not be "hidden away".

The parchment, handmade in Glasgow using linen and plant fibre, is also "dramatically" illuminated by LED lights within a transparent cylinder to make the sealed scroll easier to see.

The brief for designers stated that the baton should be easily handed from person to person, should weigh no more than 2kg and must be able to withstand all weathers for the 10-month relay.

The baton's handle is made of elm wood sourced from the grounds of Garrison House on the Isle of Cumbrae and was constructed using a boatbuilding technique called bird-mouthing, which means it is light, strong and durable.

The top of the baton contains a granite "gemstone" which will be detached by opening a puzzle mechanism and given as gift to each nation and territory.

The gems are made of water-resistant granite unique to Scotland and were sourced from Ailsa Craig in the Firth of Clyde.

Glasgow 2014 will be the 20th Commonwealth Games and will feature 17 sports in 11 days of competition, with 261 medal events.

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At the top of the baton is a granite ‘gemstone’, which will be given to each nation and territory. The stones come from Ailsa Craig in the Firth of Clyde and have been crafted by Kays of Scotland and jewellers from Glasgow School of Art.

The gemstone can only be removed by opening a clever puzzle mechanism.

The lattice frame is inspired by Glasgow's industrial and architectural heritage. A process called direct metal laser sintering was used to create its organic shape by fusing together layers of pure titanium powder.

Inside the baton is a message from the Queen, written on parchment handmade in Glasgow from linen and plant fibre. Sealed with the royal seal, the message forms the 'visual core' of the baton, illuminated from within by LED lights.

The elm handle is crafted from wood from the grounds of Garrison House on the Isle of Cumbrae, and represents Scotland's natural resources. It was constructed using a boatbuilding technique known as "bird-mouthing", traditionally used to make ships' masts.

The Commonwealth of Nations has 54 members, but 70 teams participate in the Commonwealth Games because a number of British overseas territories, Crown dependencies and island states compete under their own flag.

The UK nations - Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland - compete separately in the Commonwealth Games, as do the smaller home territories such as Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

The first Queen's Baton Relay was staged for the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff and has been the curtain raiser to the Games ever since.

But until 1998, the relay would only travel through England and the host nation.

By 2002, in Manchester, it was covering 100,000km and visiting 23 nations.

Melbourne 2006 was the first baton relay to visit all the nations which sent teams to the Games.

The baton's journey around the globe will be documented by adventurer and broadcaster Mark Beaumont for the BBC.

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    Ebola update 08:59:

    Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland about how Scotland is dealing with any potential Ebola cases, Dr Colin Ramsay, of Health Protection Scotland, said: "There's been no programme of actively screening athletes simply because of the Commonwealth Games.

    "The situation is that if someone presents with symptoms suggestive of the possibility of Ebola virus infection and who has come from a country affected by the current outbreak - and that's Sierra Leone and Guinea and Liberia - they would be investigated accordingly and that would involve managing them with a set of standard precautions."

     
  81.  
    RBS claims 08:54:

    Royal Bank of Scotland has warned Scottish independence could have a "material adverse effect" on its business.

    The Edinburgh-based bank, 80% owned by the taxpayer, said a "Yes" vote in the 18 September referendum could cause uncertainty and hit credit ratings.

     
  82.  
    More medal hopes... 08:47:

    After the heroics of Eilidh Child, Alex Gladkov, Daniel Keatings and Daniel Purvis yesterday, Scotland have medal hopes in today's athletics, gymnastics and lawn bowls at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

    Bowler Darren Burnett contests the gold medal match in the men's singles against Canada's Ryan Bester and Scotland's fours team will also be competing for gold medal when they take on England.

    Adam Cox, Frank Baines, Keatings and Purvis are in gymnastics action and Lynsey Sharp goes in the final of the 800m at Hampden this evening.

    Read our day nine preview.

     
  83.  
    Travel news 08:43:

    @BBCTravelScot tweets: Police dealing with RTC on the A92 Ladybank. Road in Fife..there's a closure in place at the Northerly junction to Ladybank from A92

     
  84.  
    Euro woes 08:36:

    Last night was a disappointing one for Scotland's Europa League representatives in the third qualifying round first leg.

    Aberdeen defender Shay Logan and St Johnstone defender Frazer Wright

    Aberdeen went down 2-0 against Real Sociedad in Spain while St Johnstone were 2-1 losers at home to Spartak Trnava. Both Scottish Premiership sides face an uphill task to reach the play-off round.

     
  85.  
    Morning call 08:33:

    Cathy MacDonald (on today's Morning Call) asks: Do we really need alcohol on holiday flights, or does it mark the start of our bad reputation abroad?

    Also on the programme: Whose responsibility is it to look after you in your later years?

    Call 0500 92 95 00; text 80295; or email morningcallscotland@bbc.co.uk

    Listen on Radio Scotland from 08:50.

     
  86.  
    Clyde cone 08:07:

    Glasgow 2014 mascot Clyde has been paying tribute to the city's most famous statue.

    Clyde

    Michael Jackson-Matthews took this picture outside the Glasgow Victoria Infirmary.

    We'd love you to email us any images you have taken in and around the Games.

     
  87.  
    Games heroes 07:54:

    Missed any of the action from Day Eight at Glasgow 2014? We have a video catch-up of all the best bits.

    Eilidh Child
     
  88.  
    On the Fringe 07:44:

    "There's a six-and-a-half-foot drag queen in the ladies' bathroom. In leopard skin dress and towering platforms, he apologises but he's onstage any minute and the ladies is much closer than the gents."

    Drag queen

    Our arts correspondent Pauline McLean is looking ahead to the Edinburgh Fringe.

     
  89.  
    Avoid or be patient

    @trafficscotland tweets: Hotspot Map for August 1st - @GamesTravel2014 Day 9 Commonwealth Games - check busy areas here :)

    Glasgow map

    There's more detail in the Traffic Scotland website.

     
  90.  
    Ebola test negative 07:34:

    An athlete has been tested for Ebola and cleared at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, organisers have confirmed.

    Coloured transmission electron micro graph of a single Ebola virus, the cause of Ebola fever

    A spokesman for Glasgow 2014 said the competitor was given tests for a number of conditions after he fell ill last week and was admitted to hospital.

    Sierra Leone road cyclist Moses Sesay, 32, competed in his event, the men's individual time trial, on Thursday.

     
  91.  
  92.  
    Sunshine and showers 07:33:

    @BBCScotWeather tweets: Rain moving into south this morning, clearing northwards. Then a day of sunshine & heavy showers. N Isles dry til eve. Highs of 16 to 19C.JR

     
  93.  
    School closures 07:27:

    New rules on school closures have come into force across Scotland.

    Classroom

    Learning minister Alasdair Allan said they would provide "important safeguards" for rural communities.

    Local authorities will be required to carry out more rigorous consultation, especially before shutting rural schools

     
  94.  
    Good morning Sandy Murray BBC Scotland news

    Welcome to BBC Scotland's live coverage of news, sport, travel and weather on 1 August.

    I know, August already.

    We'll have reports from across the country, including all the best action from Glasgow 2014.

     

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