By Gary Anderson

Nessie the Loch Ness Monster is set to welcome athletes and team officials to the Glasgow 2014 Athletes' Village ©Glasgow 2014Scotland's most famous resident, Nessie the Loch Ness Monster, is set to welcome around 6,500 athletes and team officials at the Glasgow 2014 Athletes' Village when it officially opens its doors on Sunday (July 13).

A sculpture of the mythical beast has been unveiled in the heart of the Athletes' Village in Glasgow's East End, located near Celtic Park, which will stage the Opening Ceremony on July 23 and Games venues the Emirates Arena and the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

Created by sculptor Stuart Murdoch, the work of art incorporates a bench and will form the centrepiece of the Village which will host athletes from all 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.

The three metre high and nine metre long sculpture is made from Caithness Stone, Scots Elm, grey stone from the North-East of Scotland and Clashach Sandstone from Moray.

The sculpture has been made form stone and wood sourced from around Scotland ©Glasgow 2014The sculpture has been made form stone and wood sourced from around Scotland
©Glasgow 2014

The Loch Ness Monster has been one of Scotland's most famous attractions with reports of a mythical creature inhabiting Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands going back centuries.

"I was honoured to be asked to work with Glasgow 2014 and to produce this sculpture," said Murdoch, who has inscribed the monster's Gaelic name "Each Uisge" or "water horse".

"The Loch Ness Monster is recognised globally as an icon of this country and in this work I wanted to represent the nation's mythology, creativity, ancient history, as well as to highlight the grit and determination shown by all the Commonwealth athletes.

"It is a beast that has inspired our people since before the first written word.

"I hope it inspires all the athletes in the Village."

Nessie with sculptor Stuart Murdoch as it takes up residence at the Glasgow 2014 Athletes' Village ©Glasgow 2014Nessie with sculptor Stuart Murdoch as it takes up residence at the Glasgow 2014 Athletes' Village ©Glasgow 2014

Glasgow 2014 Head of Village Operations, Tony Sainsbury added: "The monster sculpture is a fantastic addition to the Village representing as it does Scottish folklore.

"Nessie follows in the tradition of sculptures in recent Athletes' Villages and it is sure to become the photo, selfie and upload hit of our Village."

The Village is operational 24 hours a day and has been designed to  give athletes the perfect surroundings to relax as they build up to their competitions, according to Games organisers.

It is divided up into four residential areas called Castle, Clan, Loch and Mountain and also has a temporary 2,000-seat, 24-hour dining hall and gym, a medical facility, a retail zone and a recreational space.

Following the Games, due to end with the Closing Ceremony at Hampden Park on August 3, work will begin on transforming the Athletes' Village site into 700 residential properties as well as a 120-bed care home for the elderly.

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