After 286 days and a 190,000-kilometre journey spanning 70 nations and territories, the Queen's Baton Relay made a triumphant arrival in Glasgow this morning just days before the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday (July 23).
Although the early start caused the crowd to be smaller than perhaps it would have been otherwise, a series of musical and theatrical performances stirred excitement levels, as did the refreshingly brighter weather than that seen here last night.
And by the appointed time of 6.56am, hundreds of people lined the beginning of the route, carrying flags and cheering in scenes reminiscent of the Olympic Torch Relay ahead of London 2012.
Once the Baton arrived, the atmosphere was raised further by the leader of Glasgow City Council, Gordon Matheson, who spoke of "a huge, joyful and historic occasion, when the Baton arrives where it belongs for the Commonwealth Games in our great and beloved city".
"There are now only three days to go," he added.
"These are our Games, let Glasgow flourish and let the Games begin."
The Baton was then taken by the first bearer, Anne-Marie Monaghan, a keen golfer, athlete and skier despite the fact she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000, before being carried off amid more cheers to mark the start of a three-day journey around the city.
The setting here was particularly poignant because Doulton Fountain is not only an iconic part of the history of Scotland's second city, but it is inscribed with commemorative messages from various Commonwealth countries, including Canada, Australia, India and South Africa.
Perhaps the most striking dimension of the Ceremony was this thoroughly multicultural dimension, a reminder that the Commonwealth Games seeks to unite people from all over the world.
Among the various acts performing before the arrival of the Baton was Kakatsitsi, a music group from Ghana, as well as a Scottish Youth Theatre ensemble featuring aspiring actors from throughout the Commonwealth, including Australia, Canada, India, Jamaica, Malta and New Zealand, as well as Great Britain.
But there was also a firmly Scottish vibe to proceedings, with bagpipes and rousing renditions of traditional local songs featuring.
Although several of the spectators appeared to have come from elsewhere, many were Glaswegians taking to the streets in an opportunity to witness first hand an event that is making the eyes of the Commonwealth shine on their city, with just a few of them sporting "Yes" badges, recognising the impending Scottish Independence referendum later this year.
The Baton is now journeying around many of the city's biggest landmarks, including the Mitchell Library, the Glasgow School of Art, the Glasgow Film Theatre, the Royal Concert Hall and the Lighthouse Museum.
Today's event will then culminate with an evening celebration in Springburn Park, set to begin at 5pm.
The final bearer of the day will be local Paralympian Michael McCreadie, who, after winning two bronze medals in lawn bowls at the Toronto 1976 Summer Games, was part of the British wheelchair curling team that won a silver medal 30 years later at Turin 2006.
On Wednesday (July 23) the Baton's arrival will form the crescendo of the Opening Ceremony, where it will be opened, with a message inside read by the Queen.
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