The Gold Coast 2018 Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) arrived in Scotland today, marking the 42nd stop on its global tour in the build-up to next year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia.
As hosts of the last Games in 2014, Glasgow was the first place to welcome the Baton as it visited a range of youth and community projects with a strong focus on Games legacy.
Michael Jamieson, an Olympic and Commonwealth silver medal-winning swimmer, had the honour of being the first Batonbearer when it arrived at the Glasgow School of Sport, accompanied by Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) President Louise Martin and Commonwealth Games Scotland chief executive Jon Doig.
They were greeted by the likes of First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon and Lord Provost of Glasgow Eva Bolander.
Susan Aitken, the leader of Glasgow City Council, and Angela Porter, director of the Glasgow School of Sport, were also present.
Glasgow School of Sport is described as a hotbed of emerging young talent and has contributed numerous athletes for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games and Youth Games, including Jamieson and fellow Batonbearer, 16-year-old sprinter Lauren Greig.
Accepting the Baton on behalf of Scotland, Doig said: "The Queen’s Baton Relay is the iconic symbol of the Commonwealth Games and we are delighted to welcome the Gold Coast 2018 Baton to Scotland today.
"We have had tremendous enthusiasm and support from local authorities, schools and community groups across the country, helping to organise an exciting programme of events, using the QBR to connect their communities with the Games and embrace the values of the Commonwealth Movement as a whole.
"The public support Team Scotland enjoyed for Glasgow 2014 was phenomenal and I look forward to seeing that passion sparked once again, as the Baton journeys through Scotland this week."
The next stop for the Baton was the former Commonwealth Games Village in Dalmarnock, which is now a thriving residential area.
It then went over the new pedestrian, cycle and footbridge into South Lanarkshire for a loop of the Cuningar Woodland Park, courtesy of the Bike Town cycling group.
This marked a celebration of a Glasgow 2014 legacy project which is being driven by Clyde Gateway.
The morning concluded with a visit to meet youngsters at the Badminton Scotland "Big Hit" participation event at the Emirates Arena, where the 2017 World Badminton Championships are currently taking place.
Carrying the Baton and there to inspire the next generation of young players was Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Susan Egelstaff.
The Baton was then taken the short distance to The Legacy Hub by People’s Development Trust representative John Macaulay for a Dalmarnock community barbeque.
After visits to Team Scotland sponsor CGI with Batonbearer Meggan Dawson-Farrell, a wheelchair racer, there was a meeting with Commonwealth secretary-general Baroness Patricia Scotland at a Common Purpose UK students programme.
It was there where discussions took place on what the current generation of the Commonwealth can do to make its cities more safe and inclusive by 2030.
The finale to the day’s proceedings was a public event in George Square, where the Depute Lord Provost of Glasgow, Bailie Philip Braat, met with Glasgow 2014 volunteers, including Batonbearer Izzy Conway and Commonwealth Youth Games boxing gold medallist, Tyler Jolly.
The Square also witnessed the first meeting of Bonnie the Seal, the new face of the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, and the Glasgow 2014 mascot Clyde.
"It is incredible to think that Glasgow 2014 was three years ago and now Scotland’s very best athletes are training hard once again, to qualify for Gold Coast in just eight months-time," Jamieson said.
"Having the Queen’s Baton Relay here this week will spur them on even more and it will also help to get the public behind the team, which is really important."
The Baton’s arrival in Scotland followed the conclusion of its visit to England.
It arrived in England by military aeroplane from the Falkland Islands and was parachuted into Royal Air Force Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
Thereafter, the Baton was formally received by Commonwealth Games England chairman Ian Metcalfe and CGF head Martin.
It then travelled to London to be welcomed by the Australian High Commissioner and a number of athletes such as Commonwealth and Olympic gymnastics champion Max Whitlock at the London Guildhall Gallery and Amphitheatre.
The Baton continued to Stoke Mandeville Stadium, home of the Paralympic Movement, and the Lawn Bowls National Championships in Leamington Spa.
Commonwealth and Paralympic swimming champion Ollie Hynd supported an open sports day at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, before the Baton was greeted by the country’s leading lawn bowls stars at the National Championships.
Friday (August 18) saw the Baton head to Manchester, where it was joined by English gymnastics stars Ellie and Rebecca Downie at MediaCityUK.
England basketball stars Georgia Jones and Dominique Allen offered a "come and try" session on a special court at the Salford-based business park.
The Baton was then greeted by cricket fans at Old Trafford for the Lancashire Lightning versus Birmingham Bears T20 Blast fixture, undertaking a lap of honour before the match.
Saturday (August 19) and Sunday (August 20) saw the Baton head to the respective cities of Liverpool and Birmingham, who are both currently bidding to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The trip to Liverpool commenced with a visit to Liverpool Parkrun at Princes Park, which saw former gymnastics star Beth Tweddle greet the Baton before heading to Albert Dock prior to the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
It was followed by a community sports day held at Chavasse Park.
After a quick trip on a "Ferry across the Mersey", the Baton was greeted by more than 50,000 football fans at Anfield at half-time of the Liverpool versus Crystal Palace English Premier League fixture.
In Birmingham, the Baton was given a grand tour of the city, visiting a number of key landmarks, including the Bullring, Library, Edgbaston and Brindley Place.
The trip commenced with a visit to the New Testament Church of God Gospel Choir, where it was welcomed by members.
The Baton then headed to the Alexander Stadium for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League event.
It was on display in the Fan Zone and completed a lap around the athletics track courtesy of the British men’s 4×100 metres relay team that won gold at the recent IAAF World Athletics Championships in London.