Triple Olympic gold champion Ben Ainslie kicked off the 70-day torch relay yesterday from Land's End in Cornwall.
He is one of 8000 bearers carrying the flame a total of 8000 miles across 1019 cities, towns and villages, on foot or in convoy, to the opening ceremony on July 27.
The majority of people carrying the torch are members of the public, nominated for their achievements and community work.
It comes to Scotland in June and will be carried to locations including Stranraer, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, St Andrews, Edinburgh, the Borders, Inverness, Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.
Dressed in the official pristine white-and-gold Torchbearer outfit, Ainslie started the first leg of the relay shortly after 7am.
He was cheered on by thousands of people as he walked his 300m leg of the trip, stopping to let Olympic fans lay their fingers on the symbolic flame which represents the world's biggest sporting event.
Devon and Cornwall Police said around 3500 people were at Land's End to see the start of the relay.
Ainslie, 35, said: "I wanted to give everyone the chance to touch the torch. It is one of those moments in your life where you are just in shock. It was an amazing moment. I was very proud obviously to help kick start this period in the run-up to the Olympics."
The Olympic flame arrived on Friday evening on board a special BA flight from Athens to Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, Cornwall.
David Beckham joined the Princess Royal, Lord Coe, chairman of the Games organisers, and London Mayor Boris Johnson on board the flight with the flame.
It has emerged that police have launched an investigation into reports that a red light was shone at the aircraft as it came in to land.
A spokesman from Devon and Cornwall Police said: "We are investigating it but we do not believe that it was a laser."
The torch was then flown to the UK's most westerly point by a 771 Naval Air Squadron Sea King helicopter for the start of the relay.
Lieutenant Commander Richard Full carried a lantern to the world-famous First and Last signpost at Land's End, where the first torch was lit in front of the cheering crowds.
He said: "Months of planning went to that one moment. I was honoured."
When the torch arrives in Glasgow on June 8, 26-year-old disabled campaigner Julie McElroy will be one of the lucky ones to grasp the flame.
McElroy, who has cerebral palsy, became a Torchbearer after being nominated by Disability Rights UK.
She said: "At the time when they nominated me I just thought it would be something exciting to have under my belt but I didn't think much about it. When I found out I had been chosen I couldn't really believe it.
"I have been watching some of the coverage in Cornwall so far but I think it's hard for the atmosphere to transpire to Glasgow. I don't think anyone will get excited until the day it arrives. When it actually comes it will be my moment to shine."
She revealed that she is in the dark about the details – and won't know the plans until 48 hours before.
She added: "We don't know anything yet. I suppose I'll just have to hope nothing goes wrong."