Dozens of islanders from Barra to the Butt of Lewis will have the once in a lifetime opportunity to carry the Commonwealth Games baton as it snakes its way through the islands en route to Glasgow.
The baton, carrying a message from the Queen to be read at the opening ceremony, makes landfall in the Hebrides on Monday, July 7 on Barra after flying in from Glasgow.
It will then be conveyed by the first Hebridean baton bearers from the beach landing strip through Castlebay to the sports centre on the baton’s first leg of its island-hopping visit.
From Castlebay the baton will then head northwards on its journey via Eriskay, Daliburgh, Liniclate, a flying visit to St Kilda, Berneray, Tarbert, and the Butt of Lewis before finally entering Stornoway on Tuesday July 8 at around 7.23pm at the Porter’s Lodge. The baton will then make a circuit of the town and finish up at Perceval Square at approximately 8.45pm.
The Stornoway event will start at 6.15pm in Perceval Square with a performance by the Commonwealth Youth Circus. There will be input from local dance talent and a choir too!
Following the Queen's Baton Relay, there will be a musical event co-ordinated by the Hebridean Celtic Festival team in Perceval Square. The line-up will include a musical performance showcasing local artists who will feature at the Hebridean Celtic Festival from 16-19 July.
Starting at around 9pm, first on stage will be traditional ceilidh band The 4Macs, which includes stars from the local Feisean, will join with 16-year-old singer songwriter Eleanor Nicolson, who releases her new EP during the festival; and Willie Campbell, whose song Welcome Home, written for HebCelt, is in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
The finale will see Gaelic singer and piper Calum Alex MacMillan, renowned fiddler Jane Hepburn, accordionist Alasdair Maclean and multi-instrumentalist Andy Yearley joined by the Lewis Pipe Band to close the event. This is a free event. Organisers say; "Come along and support the members of our community who have been nominated to carry the prestigious Queen's Baton and enjoy some great local musical talent too!"
Among those given the opportunity to carry the baton are St Kilda swimmers, Colin Macleod and Eilidh Whiteford; charity mountain climber, Mairi Maciver; former Commonwealth Games athlete, Kirsty Wade; charity co-founder, Lorna Norgrove; island football stalwart, Manus McGee; dance teacher, Lynne Maclean; Gaelic champions, Marina Murray and Donald MacSween; South Uist shinty player and coach, Joseph Macinnes; and Uist football supremo, Iain Macdonald.
The oldest baton bearer in the Isles will be Ethel McNally from Tarbert who has inspired hundreds of youngsters to take up sport.
The Queen’s Baton is 615mm in height, weighs 1.6kg and was designed by Glasgow-based design agency, 4c. 1. Up to 4,000 baton bearers will take part in the Scotland route of the Queen’s Baton Relay, with an average of 100 baton bearers carrying the baton 200m on a daily basis.
The Glasgow Commonwealth Games opens on July 23 to August 3. It will feature 17 sports in 11 days of competition with 261 medal events on show. The Games will play host to 4500 athletes from 71 countries.