London 2012 Paralympic Flame is lit in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
Wednesday, 22 August 2012
August 22 - The four elements of the London 2012 Paralympic Flame were lit at the summits of Britain's highest mountains at dawn this morning.
England's Flame was lit at the top of Scafell Pike in Cumbria, Wales' Flame (pictured top) at Snowdon in Gwynedd, Scotland's Flame (pictured below) at Ben Nevis in the Lochaber area and Northern Ireland's Flame at Slieve Donard in County Down.
In keeping with Paralympic tradition, the four Flames were lit using a combination of teamwork and human endeavour as groups of young disabled and non-disabled Scouts from communities near to the peaks climbed to the summit of their respective the mountains.
As the groups reached the summit, they used a ferrocerium rod which they struck against a rough steel surface to create the sparks that lit the Flame.
There was a surprise for the Welsh public at Snowdon as London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe joined the Scouts as they climbed the mountain and then lit the Welsh Paralympic Flame.
"The combination of teamwork and human endeavour being used to create the Welsh Flame, and indeed all the Flames, is a very fitting start to the Paralympic Torch Relay celebrations," Coe said at the summit of Snowdon.
"These groups of inspirational individuals are lighting the way to a fantastic 11 days of sport."
Following the lightings, all four of the Flames were placed in a miner's lantern and brought back down on foot.
They will now be transferred to their respective nation's capital cities in London, Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff where they will each become the focus for a day of Paralympic celebrations.
The London celebrations will take place on Friday (August 24) in Trafalgar Square, the Belfast celebrations on Saturday (August 25) outside Stormont, the Edinburgh celebrations on Sunday (August 26) on The Mound and the Cardiff celebrations next Monday (August 27) outside City Hall.
The four Flames will then be brought together at the Flame Lighting Ceremony to create the Paralympic Flame on August 28 at Stoke Mandeville – the location where Sir Ludwig Guttmann sowed the seeds for the Paralympics in 1948 when he organised sporting competition for injured patients rehabilitating from World War Two.
The Paralympic Flame will be then carried 87 miles by 580 Torchbearers, made up of 116 teams of five, in a 24-hour Relay to the Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony on the evening of August 29.
"We have created a unique identity for the Paralympic Torch Relay which will be a celebration of courage, determination, inspiration and equality that every Paralympian represents," added Coe.
"By creating the four Flames through human endeavour at the four highest peaks in the United Kingdom we have ensured that the spirit of each home nation is represented in the Paralympic Flame."
Last week, London 2012 revealed the full street level route the Paralympic Flame will take during the 24-hour overnight Relay – presented by BT, Lloyds TSB and Sainsbury's – from Stoke Mandeville to London.
The Relay will travel through some Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire communities, before visiting all six host boroughs and a number of London landmarks.
The full route is available to view here.
August 2012: Environmental arts group create sculptures at Northala Fields for Paralympic Flame celebration
August 2012: Paralympic Flame to be created at summit of highest peaks of four Home Nations
February 2012: Sleek aluminium London 2012 Paralympic Torch unveiled
September 2011: New concept for 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay sees four flames lit across Britain