WITH the remaining days on the 2014 Commonwealth Games countdown clock ever dwindling, the Queen's Baton Relay is set to arrive into Scotland this week.
Edinburgh will be its first call on Saturday before the baton spends the next 40 days travelling the length and breadth of the country through 400 villages, towns and cities.
Almost 2,500 miles will be covered by 4,000 baton bearers as the spectacle travels as far afield as the Scottish Borders, Orkney and Shetland, Argyll and Bute, Aberdeenshire and the Western Isles. The Queen's Baton Relay has been the curtain-raiser to the Commonwealth Games since 1958. The baton departed Glasgow on October 9, first travelling to Buckingham Palace in London where the Queen placed her message calling the athletes of the Commonwealth to Scotland for the start of the Games inside.
From there the next stop was Delhi - which hosted the Games in 2010 - before travelling through Asia, Australia and the Oceania islands followed by Africa, Americas South, Caribbean, Americas North and Europe. It is has been an epic journey set against a backdrop of towering skyscrapers, rugged plains, tropical islands and snow-capped mountains.
The baton arrived back into the UK on May 11 when Olympic bronze medallist diver Tom Daley carried it ashore at St Aubin's Bay, Jersey. Since then it has taken in iconic landmarks including the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland and the Dylan Thomas boathouse in Laugharne, Wales. The baton is currently in the final days of its tour of England. By the time it reaches Celtic Park on July 23, the 288-day journey will have seen it visit 70 nations and territories, covering more than 118,000 miles - the equivalent of nearly five times around the equator.
Created by Glasgow-based 4c Design, the baton is hand-crafted from titanium, wood and granite with its distinctive lattice frame a homage to the rich industrial and architectural heritage of the host city. The handle is made of elm sourced from the grounds of Garrison House on the Isle of Cumbrae.
For the first time, the Queen's message forms the visual heart of the baton's design. Scrolled and held in a transparent cylinder, it is illuminated from within by a series of LED lights. The actual words, however, are unreadable and will be kept under wraps until the opening ceremony.
A host of celebrities and ordinary Scots, nominated locally for their achievements and good work, have been chosen to carry the baton. Look out for them traversing a street, road or park near your soon.
The Queen's Baton Relay will be in Scotland from June 14 until July 23. For a full route map and schedule, visit glasgow2014.com/queens-baton-relay