Islands’ leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay on the horizon

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The Commonwealth Queen’s Baton Relay will reach the Western Isles next week in the run-up to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The baton will be taken through the isles by the baton bearers - over 60 members of the community, each one nominated their place in the relay for their outstanding contributions to community and sporting life; volunteering, raising funds and awareness for various charities, promoting local youth sport and much more.

Colin MacLeod and Eilidh Whiteford, who were both part of the team which swam the Minch for charity - raising over £20,000 for RNLI, will both be taking hold of the Baton, as will Mairi MacIver who raised over £12,000 for charity by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Ethel McNally, from Tarbert, is the oldest baton bearer in the Western Isles section, although she still runs marathons and is a huge inspiration for local youngsters who she helps with swimming lessons and Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

North Uist athlete Katlyn MacLellan recieved multiple nominations for her youth work and contributions to her Lochmaddy community. She is one of many athletes taking the baton, including Commonwealth gold-medalist Kirsty Wade, who won the 800m in the Brisbane games and helped set up the annual Women’s Cancer Challenge Charity 5k Run.

Donald MacSween is one of the outstanding role models nominated. Donald works on the Include Us project and organises junior football.

The Queen’s Baton will arrive in the Western Isles by plane on Monday, July 7th, when it touches down on the Barra landing strip. It will spend the night in Castlebay where there will be a mass ‘Strip the Willow’.

On Tuesday, July 8th, the baton will take the Ferry from Ardmhor to Eriskay and make the journey north through Lochboisdale to spend the morning at Daliburgh School for the Commonwealth games ‘Big Breakfast’. There will also be musical performances and family sports activities and the Baton will be presented on the School football field at roughly 9.20am.

From Daliburgh the baton will go up to Liniclate where it will be met with Commonwealth Games Sports challenges, including badminton, bowls, mini relays and athletics events at Liniclate School. Uist Riding School will give a display and dances, art activities and face painting will precede the presentation of the Baton at the school entrance at roughly 10.40am.

Weather permitting, the baton will then travel to St. Kilda, the outermost part of the home leg, and will reach Tarbert through Balivanich, Berneray and Leverburgh.

At Tarbert the baton will be taken to Sir E Scott School and Rally Park where there will be dance performances and BodyWorks Busking - an interactive science display by Glasgow Science Centre. There will also be a Marathon Storytelling Cycle Challenge and the baton will look to be presented at Rally Park at 3.30pm.

From Harris the baton will travel the length of Lewis to Lionel School in Ness, where there will be sports activities and fun events for all the supporting spectators. The baton aims to reach the Butt of Lewis lighthouse at 6pm, before heading back south towards Stornoway.

The baton will be welcomed to Stornoway with an evening of dances and musical performances in Perceval Square Car Park by local artists including ceilidh band Four Macs, young singer/songwriter Eleanor Nicolson, artists Willie Campbell, Calum Alex MacMillan, Jane Hepburn, Alasdair Maclean and Andy Yearly, and the Lewis Pipe Band.

The Baton arrives in Stornoway at roughly 7:20pm and to facilitate the entertainment Bayhead/Cromwell Street will be closed from around 6pm and Perceval Square Pay and Display car park will be closed all day on Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Additional car parking will however be available at the Acres Car Park opposite the Comhairle building, the Nicolson Institute car park, accessed off Smith Avenue and at the former Bus Park on Smith Avenue.

From Stornoway it moves up to the Orkney Islands and makes it way to Glasgow, where the opening ceremony will take place on the July 23rd, and the Queen’s message inside the Baton will be revealed.