Highlands & Islands

Queen's Baton Relay: Baton in Highlands and Na h-Eileanan Siar

A steam train on the Glenfinnan Viaduct Image copyright Rob Newman/Geograph
Image caption The Glenfinnan Viaduct has featured in the Harry Potter films

The Queen's Baton will visit one of the most iconic locations from the Harry Potter films during its journey around the Highlands and the Western Isles.

On 12 July, the baton will take in Glenfinnan Viaduct, the railway bridge that Harry and Ron Weasley fly over in Ford Anglia in the Chamber of Secrets film - the second instalment of the J K Rowling series.

David Sedgwick will carry the baton as a train passes over the viaduct. Selected by 130 people, he is Scotland's most-nominated baton bearer.

He is being recognised for his volunteering work in the community and for his 21 years service as a consultant surgeon at Lochaber's Belford Hospital.

The baton, which is the main curtain-raiser for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, first visited the Highlands on 4 July when it was carried in Aviemore.

It returns to the region on Wednesday 9 July, where it will be carried by members of the community in Ullapool, Lairg and Thurso.

On 11 July, it will then be on the streets of Wick, Brora, Golspie, Tain, Alness and Dingwall before it takes in Inverness, Drumnadrochit, Fort Augustus, Spean Bridge and Fort William the following day.

Highland Council says highlights from the baton's stay will include a series of sporting events throughout the region, a stop at the famous Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness, and an end-of-evening event in Dingwall on 11 July, featuring the Commonwealth Youth Circus.

The baton's visit to the Highlands region comes a few days after it will tour around Na h-Eileanan Siar (The Western Isles).

The first stop will be Castlebay on Barra on Monday, before it spends the next day travelling around Daliburgh, Linaclate, Benbecula Airport, Tarbert, Butt of Lewis Lighthouse and Stornoway.

Weather permitting, the baton will travel to the isolated St Kilda island on this day (8 July).

Glasgow 2014, the organisers of the Commonwealth Games, said baton bearers will include Mairi MacIver, who raised over £12,000 for the Western Isles Kidney Patients' Association by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, and swimmer Colin Macleod, who helped to raise over £20,000 for the RNLI.

Councillor Jimmy Gray, the convener of Highland Council, said: "It's incredible to think the baton set off on its journey on 9 October last year and since then it has visited 70 nations and territories across the Commonwealth.

"Now it is in the UK everyone is busy preparing for the final straight and this Highland leg is a fantastic chance for us to showcase our stunning scenery, famous culture and world famous hospitality."

The baton relay is in the middle of a 40-day journey around every local authority area in Scotland.

The baton will be carried by about 100 people a day - many of whom have been chosen for their work in their local communities - before it plays a key role in the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on 23 July.

It has all over the Commonwealth since Queen Elizabeth II placed a message inside it last October. You can follow the relay live on the BBC's Queen's Baton Relay website.

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