This morning saw four groups of scouts, led by experienced mountaineers, climb the highest peaks in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where they used the traditional technique of rubbing flint to create sparks and kindle a flame. These flames lit the first four Paralympic Torches which will be conveyed to the four national cities over the next few days before traveling to Stoke Mandeville where a ceremony will see them combined to form the Paralympic Flame.
Lighting the four flames
Setting off in the early hours of the morning all four flames were struck using a ferrocerium rod struck against a rough steel surface to create the sparks. Scafell Pike (England), Snowdon (Wales), Ben Nevis (Scotland) and Slieve Donard (Northern Ireland) were the locations.
Chair of London 2012 Organising Committee Seb Coe said: “By creating the four Flames through human endeavour at the four highest peaks in the UK we will ensure that the spirit of each home nation is represented in the Paralympic Flame”.
The lighting of the four flames marks the day that 3000 Paralympians start moving into the Olympic Village in preparation for the London 2012 Games.
The Paralympic Torch
Unlike the gold coloured finish of the Olympic Torch, the Paralympic Torch has been given a mirrored finish which means that its colour will adapt to its surroundings. With part of the 24 hour relay taking place overnight, the reflective nature of the Torch will help it shine brightly and stand out in the darkness reflecting the light from the Flame.
We’re watching with interest to see if the Paralympic Torches start being sold on eBay and if they fetch higher or lower prices than the Olympic torches did.
The Paralympic Torch Relay
The Flames have now been placed in miner’s lanterns and will be transferred to the nation’s capital cities. On consecutive mornings from 24th-27th August a ceremonial cauldron will be lit in each capital city creating the four National Flames. They will be lit on Friday 24th August – Trafalgar Square, London; Saturday 25th August – Stormont, Belfast; Sunday 26th August – The Mound, Edinburgh; Monday 27th August – City Hall, Cardiff.
Each Flame will then be taken direct to Stoke Mandeville, home of the Paralympic Movement, where the four National Flames will be combined at a Paralympic Flame Lighting Ceremony on 28th August to create the London 2012 Paralympic Flame.
At the end of the Flame Lighting ceremony in Stoke Mandeville, a 24-hour overnight Relay will see the Paralympic Flame carried 92 miles by 580 Torchbearers, working in teams of five, to the Olympic Stadium where it will light the Cauldron at the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Photographs copyright and courtesy of London 2012