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And their off ... Team Scotland Joins baton relay as it makes its way to athletes' pre-Games base

TEAM Scotland athletes glimpsed the Queen's Baton yesterday as the relay reached their pre-Commonwealth Games base.

Clockwise from main: golfer Catriona Matthew carries the Queen's Baton round Gleneagles golf course yesterday after warrant officer Shane Cook, from the Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers, parachuted into the golf course with the baton; First Minister Alex Salmond with former duathlon world champion Catriona Morrison at the University of Stirling; Team Scotland athletes at the University Of Stirling                Photograph: PA/Mark Mainz
Clockwise from main: golfer Catriona Matthew carries the Queen's Baton round Gleneagles golf course yesterday after warrant officer Shane Cook, from the Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers, parachuted into the golf course with the baton; First Minister Alex Salmond with former duathlon world champion Catriona Morrison at the University of Stirling; Team Scotland athletes at the University Of Stirling Photograph: PA/Mark Mainz

Dozens of medal hopefuls saw the baton being carried into the University of Stirling by former duathlon world champion Catriona Morrison, who competed at the 2002 and 2006 Games.

First Minister Alex Salmond was present to welcome the baton and deliver a team talk to the gathered sportsmen and women, who are gearing up for the start of the Glasgow Games on July 23. He said: "I've been at this for seven years since we won the Games in Delhi and I don't know how many meetings I've been at since then, but somehow it's only real when the baton arrives."

The baton began its journey in Perth and visited Methven, Crieff, Muthill, Gleneagles, Auchterarder, Dunblane and Bridge of Allan.

Scottish golfer Catriona Matthew took the baton through Gleneagles golf course, which hosts the Ryder Cup in September.

The First Minister added: "It was just a wonderful moment and it shows this summer is going to be extraordinary for Scotland. This is our summer, it's our year."

Others who carried the baton included 20-year-old snowboarder Calum MacIntyre, who has helped raise more than £27,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust in memory of his late sister Esme.

Later Mike Edwards carried the baton through his home town Bridge of Allan. Edwards cycled 260 miles from Belgium to Paris last year to raise money for Breakthrough Breast Cancer in memory of his late wife, Isabella.

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