Were you there when the 2012 Olympic torch arrived in Tayside and Fife?

Flag-waving crowds gripped by Olympic fever went wild as the London 2012 Torch Relay zigzagged through Tayside and Fife a decade ago.

The event turned out to be a huge hit with locals.

The torch relay began at Land’s End on May 19 in the safe hands of three-time Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie, although he was accidentally turned off on the third day!

An average of 115 torchbearers a day carried the Torch north from Athens and the famous relic from Greece arrived in Glasgow on June 8 to cheers from the crowds.

Carried by 92 torchbearers, the flame traveled 169 miles from Glasgow to Inverness along the shores of Loch Lomond, to Fort William and across Loch Ness.

The public came in force

Some torchbearers had practiced at home with everyday household items to feel more comfortable on D-Day as they embraced the honor of carrying the torch.

It reached Aberdeen on 11 June before crossing the Mearns and arriving at Angus at Hillside before passing through Montrose, Brechin and Forfar.

Trevor Madigan relishes the moment in Forfar.

It then passed through Meigle on its way to Coupar Angus, Woodside and Burrelton, Balbeggie and Scone, before arriving in Perth.

Members of the public turned out in force as the torch later called Abernethy, Newburgh, Cupar, Dairsie, Guardbridge and Leuchars.

Megan Watson and Aimee Brown watch the torch go through Leuchars.
Megan Watson and Aimee Brown watch the torch go through Leuchars.

The flaming torch was then carried over the Tay Road Bridge to Dundee on June 12 at rush hour, before traveling from Commercial Street to City Square.

Teenager Michael Robb, who was nominated for his efforts at Baldragon Academy, was the first to carry the flame to Dundee.

Young Citizen of the Year Michael Robb arrives in Dundee city centre.
Young Citizen of the Year Michael Robb arrives in Dundee city centre.

There were nine torchbearers in the city alone, including double amputee Ronnie McIntosh and Andy Coogan, a former Japanese POW.

Ronnie said: “Words cannot describe how good it feels.

“I was in hospital with pneumonia last week, but I was determined not to miss it. It was so overwhelming.

Ronnie McIntosh was overwhelmed by the honor bestowed upon him.
Ronnie McIntosh was overwhelmed by the honor bestowed upon him.

Ronnie then donated his torch and tracksuit for presentation at Ninewells Hospital.

The privileged few enjoyed their once-in-a-lifetime experience, and residents lined the streets with neighbors hanging from windows to catch a glimpse of the flame.

Even Desperate Dan got in on the act, with 16-year-old swimmer and torchbearer Mark Szaranek from Fife posing next to the iconic statue of strongman Dandy.

The sun was shining in Dundee city centre.
The sun was shining in Dundee city centre.

A pipe garland from the Mains of Fintry Pipe Band heralded the arrival of the flame, which was carried through the crowd to a stage built for the occasion.

A spirited crowd cheered and cheered as the flame then made its way from the Town Square through the Murraygate, Princes Street and towards Arbroath Road.

Robyn Lowrie was among the crowds at Baxter Park.

As in other major cities, the highlight of the Dundee Relay was an Olympic-themed rally at Baxter Park – which drew the biggest crowd there since a failed hot-air balloon attempt in front of 60,000 people on its opening day in 1863 .

The crowd of 25,000 that gathered was three times what organizers had expected.

Can you spot anyone you know among the masses who gathered to welcome the torch to Baxter Park?

Generations of families gathered that night in Baxter Park with children hoisted on their parents’ shoulders waving banners and Union flags.

The RAF flyover was also an unexpected but fantastic touch to the day.

Singing sensation Emeli Sande wowed the crowds.
Singing sensation Emeli Sande wowed the crowds.

Top of the Scottish charts Emeli Sande delighted music fans singing his greatest hits, including Next to Me, and the whole event went off pretty much perfectly.

The Olympic torch was presented by Kingspark School student Kian Steel.

The Dickson family were among those who got into the party spirit in Dundee.

He said: “It was fantastic carrying the torch and lighting the flame.

“I was nervous but I had an amazing time.”

Kian Steel lighting the Olympic cauldron in Baxter Park with his torch.

The famous flame resided in the town overnight before moving on to Fife, including crossing the famous Swilcan Bridge on the Old Course.

It was also used by students at Madras College to imitate one of cinema’s most famous scenes, which was filmed on West Sands beach in 1980.

Madras students recreated the iconic Chariots of Fire scene.
Madras students recreated the iconic Chariots of Fire scene.

Joseph Forrester ran with the flame to recreate that famous slow-motion beach run that provided the thrilling opener to the movie Chariots Of Fire.

Chariots Of Fire tells the story of Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, who both won gold medals for Great Britain at the 1924 Paris Olympics.

Round the world cyclist Mark Beaumont holding the torch in St Andrews.
Round the world cyclist Mark Beaumont holding the torch in St Andrews.

It was the script that inspired Vangelis to compose the soundtrack of “those few young men, with hope in our hearts and wings on our heels”.

Other torch highlights include appearances at Dunblane, Stirling, the Falkirk Wheel and Edinburgh Castle, where the flame was carried by Lesley Forrest, who received a kidney transplant in 1996 and, a year later began to participate in the British Transplant Games.

The Athens Flame arrived at the Olympic Stadium for the lighting of the cauldron during the opening ceremony on July 27, after its journey of 8,000 miles and 70 days.

The £27million opening ceremony, called Isles of Wonder after a passage in Shakespeare’s The Tempestwas loud, colorful, acrobatic and visually stunning.

A sublime cameo performance from Rowan Atkinson included a hilarious remake of that famous opening sequence from Chariots of Fire at St Andrews.

And, raising the biggest cheer of the night, the Queen declared the games open.

She had earlier appeared in a heartbreaking film sequence with James Bond actor Daniel Craig with the Queen playing herself, her very first film role.

The Olympics returned the feel-good factor to the nation and was unforgettable.

Just like those Courier Country stages that hosted the torch relay!

A happy group of Douglass celebrating the arrival of the torch in Baxter Park.
A happy group of Douglass celebrating the arrival of the torch in Baxter Park.

More like this:

Chariots of Fire at 40: St Andrews Beach revival changed film history

‘Cissie’ Stewart: Dundee’s first Olympic medalist was reprimanded for swimming too much and retired at 19 after running away from the Empire Games

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