This month I’ve been writing from the road, so I’ve decided to make this edition of my diary a Queen’s Baton Relay special!
Since launching from Buckingham Palace way back on 9 October 2013, the Queen’s Baton has been on an epic journey to the nations and territories around the Commonwealth. Now it’s returned to the British Isles, I’ll be joining in on the adventures right up until its final destination – the Opening Ceremony of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Woohoo!
After its very awesome arrival in Jersey (Tom Daley was the first batonbearer, how cool is that?) and Guernsey, the baton headed off to the Isle of Man. I raced along the athletics track with the pupils of Buchan School, played hide and seek with the local children at Castle Rushen, and put on my tuxedo for the Isle of Man CGA Fundraising Extravaganza. I had loads of fun at the Manx Youth Games, and made a brand new pal – Tosha the cat – who was the mascot at the Isle of Man Commonwealth Youth Games back in 2011.
Then we were off to Northern Ireland, where we received a warm welcome from the pupils of St Ita’s and Knocknagoney primary schools. I played tug-of-war at Goodyear Social Club (my team won – thistle power!), visited the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and got put through my paces at the Mary Peters Track. I even bumped into Olympic Gold medallist Dame Mary Peters herself – what an honour to meet such a sporting legend.
One of my many highlights in Northern Ireland was going along with the baton to the Giant’s Causeway. Have you heard about this famous Irish myth? It’s said that giant Fionn mac Cumhaill was challenged to a fight by Benandonner, a Scottish giant! He built the causeway after accepting the challenge, and on a clear day you can see all the way to Scotland.
Did you know that the first ever Queen’s Baton Relay was held for the Cardiff British Empire and Commonwealth Games, back in 1958?
Wales was our next destination, and we had a great time visiting the country’s super enthusiastic communities. I tried lots of different sports at Prestatyn Leisure Centre, raced the baton on a train and even got to meet weightlifting champion Michaela Breeze at the Aberdare Festival.
The baton travelled to lots beautiful places, including Mount Snowdon and Moel Famau, the highest hill within the Clwydian Range. Here, it enjoyed views of where it would be spending the following two weeks – England!
Next month I’ll tell you all about the relay’s time in England, and the amazing moment it crosses the border to the host nation of the XX Commonwealth Games, Scotland.
Don’t forget to join the Queen’s Baton Relay Thunderclap to celebrate the baton returning to Scotland on 14 June. Exciting times!