Big welcome for the baton

FROM the still waters of Lanark Loch to a rapturous welcome at Hamilton Palace, South Lanarkshire's turn in the baton relay spotlight was a sparkling success.

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  • Baton bearer Ian Rae with the crowds at the East Kilbride Arts Centre. Picture: Martin Shields
    Baton bearer Ian Rae with the crowds at the East Kilbride Arts Centre. Picture: Martin Shields
  • Baton bearer Ian Rae with the crowds at the East Kilbride Arts Centre. Picture: Martin Shields
  • Baton bearer Ian Rae with the crowds at the East Kilbride Arts Centre. Picture: Martin Shields
  • Baton bearer Ian Rae with the crowds at the East Kilbride Arts Centre. Picture: Martin Shields
  • Baton bearer Ian Rae with the crowds at the East Kilbride Arts Centre. Picture: Martin Shields
  • Baton bearer Ian Rae with the crowds at the East Kilbride Arts Centre. Picture: Martin Shields
  • Baton bearer Ian Rae with the crowds at the East Kilbride Arts Centre. Picture: Martin Shields
  • Baton bearer Ian Rae with the crowds at the East Kilbride Arts Centre. Picture: Martin Shields
  • Baton bearer Ian Rae with the crowds at the East Kilbride Arts Centre. Picture: Martin Shields
  • Baton bearer Ian Rae with the crowds at the East Kilbride Arts Centre. Picture: Martin Shields
  • Baton bearer Ian Rae with the crowds at the East Kilbride Arts Centre. Picture: Martin Shields
  • Baton bearer Ian Rae with the crowds at the East Kilbride Arts Centre. Picture: Martin Shields
  • Baton bearer Ian Rae with the crowds at the East Kilbride Arts Centre. Picture: Martin Shields
  • Baton bearer Ian Rae with the crowds at the East Kilbride Arts Centre. Picture: Martin Shields
  • Baton bearer Ian Rae with the crowds at the East Kilbride Arts Centre. Picture: Martin Shields
  • Baton bearer Ian Rae with the crowds at the East Kilbride Arts Centre. Picture: Martin Shields
  • Baton bearer Ian Rae with the crowds at the East Kilbride Arts Centre. Picture: Martin Shields
  • Baton bearer Ian Rae with the crowds at the East Kilbride Arts Centre. Picture: Martin Shields

Day nine began with footballer David Cox, who carried the baton around Lanark Loch in the sunshine, and the good weather continued as the relay made its way to Carluke.

Dancers, drums and local schoolchildren, dressed up in the national colours of each Commonwealth country (with a touch of tartan) welcomed the baton into the John Cumming Stadium.

Lawn bowler Betty Forsyth admitted the nerves had "kicked in" as she prepared for her leg. Betty represented Scotland at four previous Commonwealth Games - most recently as ladies' team manager in Delhi - and won a bronze medal in Canada in 1994.

"It is an honour to be part of the baton relay," she said. "The atmosphere is fantastic - Scotland has taken the Commonwealth Games to its heart."

Pupils of the Celia Orr School of Dance performed traditional Highland dance routines in the stadium. Celia was 19 when the Commonwealth Games came to Edinburgh in 1970, and she has fond memories of dancing in front of the Queen at the opening ceremony.

"It was lovely and I feel very fortunate to be part of the Games again in the modern era," explained the former world champion dancer.

"The Queen was very kind. And she does like kilts.

"Back then, girls had to ask permission to wear the kilt, so it was quite a big thing for me to wear it at the Palace."

Calderglen Country Park in East Kilbride was packed with thousands of supporters, as the baton wound its way around adventure playground, football and cricket pitches and even the 18th tee of the golf course.

Crowds packed Rutherglen Main Street for the baton's arrival, and the day ended in Hamilton, where all 106 batonbearers formed a guard of honour against the backdrop of the iconic Mausoleum.

Kirsty Brawley, 12, from East Kilbride, watching with her sister Emma, 14, brother Fraser, 11 and mum and dad Fiona and Andrew, summed it up: "It's exciting - it feels like this is our first taste of what the Commonwealth Games are going to be like. We can't wait."

Meanwhile, police confirmed a 21-year-old man was arrested in connection with an incident in Kilmarnock where a spectator attempted to grab the baton.

Sport

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