NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Queen's Baton Relay: Baton causes 'North Sea vertigo'

Cameron Buttle

Over a curry in Shetland I badgered BBC weather presenter Christopher Blanchett for constant updates on an inbound storm.

We had been covering the celebrations around the Queen's Baton Relay, which had culminated in a parade through Lerwick that day.

At least 20 times he replied that the storm would come well after our trip to the Clair Platform some 50 miles west of Shetland. I had nothing to worry about, he assured me.

At 7am the skies were clear, the winds light. After an undignified struggle into offshore survival suits, my colleague cameraman Doug Macleod and I boarded for the 40 minute flight.

But as we jumped down onto the helipad of the Clare I for one felt the wind picking up - a lot.

I have no head for heights and filing down the external walkways I could see straight through the metal grating down to the sea several storeys below.

Image caption Cameraman Doug Macleod was my "wingman" for the platform trip

I was expecting a couple of hardened oil-stained riggers to show passing interest in the baton, instead around half the 100 workforce passed it round cheering and posing for pictures.

My oversized overalls made me feel like a spinnaker sail in the strengthening wind, eventually I had to ask one worker, is it just me or is the platform rocking gently back and forth. Yes, he replied but nothing compared to what it does in a force 10 gale.

The baton got a great reception on the Clair, there seemed to be a genuine sense that the workforce was being recognised.

I struggled back into the survival suit for the flight to Aberdeen, I commented to the same worker that there had been a great turnout.

"That's because we thought Jackie Bird was coming..."

Image copyright Handout
Image caption Christopher Hill carries the Queen's Baton on the Clair Oil Platform

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