For Argyll published its response to the London 2012 Games Continue reading
Daniel Craig’s James Bond marched authoritatively through the corridors of Buckingham Palace Continue reading
This was what it was all about on 9th June 2012 on the eastern perimeter of Argyll. Continue reading
17 year old Myles Clark is already highly esteemed in Argyll. Today – 9th June 2012 – as he carried the Olympic Torch through Tarbet on Loch Lomond, on the eastern fringes of Argyll, he came to national attention.
Myles’ nomination as torchbearer – which we repeat below - outlines just why he is already an inspirational figure in his own place and why the selectors too understood that this was a special person for a special job.
Myles had many friends, supporters, like Chris Thornhill, above, from his village of Ardfern, whom we caught with some celebratory messages he had brought – and classmates at Tarbet.
The large crown, on a sunny morning on Loch Lomonside, cheered him to the surrounding hills as he brought the flame to the village that guards an important arterial junction into Argyll, to the west coast islands and north into the Highlands.
Several people have given us their own photographs of Myles today which, added to some of ours, let us decide to create and publish a unique memoir of the occasion for a young man who had the eyes of the world upon him in Tarbet this morning.
His parents were there, of course and, when we took the photograph at Tarbet above, his mother had already driven him south to Luss where he had boarded the Olympic Flame Torch Bearers Coach that would bring him back to Tarbet to take the flame.
For the record, Myles began his run with the Torch at the beautiful stone sign for the village, one of a pair watching over the entrance to Tarbet from the south.
To the watching crowd in the village – captured above by Councillor Dougie Philand from the Mid Argyll ward where the Clark family lives – Myles appeared with the Torch and his accompanying runners, in the centre of a cavalcade of wildly celebratory vehicles – along with an unimaginably large fleet of utility and police transports.
Below is the photographs taken at almost the same moment by Willie Young, who had organised the event at Tarbet and who manages – and drives – Argyll and Bute Council’s programme for sports development. Here you can see the Olympic Torch relay car and coach moving into place behind the runners.
We caught Myles in full stride, below, as he swung around the Tarbet Hotel to run down to the point where he would pass the flame to the next torchbearer.
Willie Young recorded the moment of the transfer of the Olympic Flame from Myles’ torch to that of the next runner who would carry it on past Arrochar school, just down the road.
The live torch has to be held to allow the flame to burn through the top of the takeover torch, to catch its gas. At every changeover there is, as seen here, one of the organising team to guide the torch positions to make sure the flame is securely passed on.
After his run, Myles got back on the bus and was returned to Luss, where he was collected by his parents. This may seem daft since he and his parents were all in Tarbet by then, but the organisers have to count them in and count them out again while the torchbearers are in their care.
It’s hardly a surprise that a gifted athlete like Myles can run so well but the image he made as he ran easily and strongly through Tarbet with the flame should encourage some couch potatoes towards activity – which is part of what the London 2012 team want to see born from the event.
Myles Clark gives Argyll continuing cheer and this morning everyone heard Argyll return the favour with all its heart..
Myles Clark’s nomination as Torchbearer
‘Myles is a 17 year old boy who has ADD, Epilepsy and learning difficulties. He has struggled throughout school with his academic studies and the general social interaction with peers. He has overcome these difficulties and has been successful in studies at his level. He has also gained his Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award, Silver Award and is working towards his Gold Award. He has been supporting the Bronze Award intake as part of the voluntary section of the Silver Award. During this time he has completed over 220 hours additional voluntary work by working at weekends and school holidays in a local kennels and daily in school supporting another pupil with additional needs. He has taught himself to play the accordion and plays this weekly in school. This has a positive affect on other pupils with additional support needs. He is a thoughtful, kind and caring young man who sees the needs of others and responds of his own accord.’
Carol Illingham, who stayed with Arrochar School throughout the event, sent us this photo-narrative of what the experience was like from that perspective, a greeting all of its own.
This is what these children will remember for the rest of their lives – the day the world came to Tarbet.
This glorious school is in the trees on the shores of Loch Lomond, adjoining the lochside park with the entertainment for the event.
Over to Carol.
Thankfully, the weather was great – apart from the midges, which were out in force – but didn’t deter from everyone having a fantastic time.
The children lined the road with handmade torches (above), waiting to greet the Olympic Torch relay team.
The police vans/cars/motorcyles of which there were many – and other convoy vehicles – all slowed down, tooted their horns and waved to the children, who were very excited.
Then the tempo changed, with a lot of noise from a blue open-topped bus full of folk who called to the children and it was obvious that the Flame wasn’t far away.
There were all sorts of vehicles in the procession ahead of the relay team, ons pair matching exactly the colours of the children’s torches.
And still they came, in all their variety, building expectations.
And suddenly, from behind a bus, there it was – the Olympic Torch relay team, folk closing in a bit to cheer them on.
This must be so exciting too for the torchbearer as well as all of us present at this great occasion.
This was Number 37′s moment, Billy McPate from Coatbridge, for Arrochar School.
Carol Illingworth, 9th June 2012
Tarbet’s story, of course, started way before 9th June, with Willie Young of Argyll and Bute Council, the genial and highly experienced organiser of all things sporting. (Below right, taking to Councillor George Freeman of Lomond North.)
Amongst much else, Mr Young needed permission from the National Park to use the public leisure area on the shores of Loch Lomond at Tarbet as the venue for the gathering for the event.
As part of this, he needed to erect a marquee for the musical entertainment he had arranged. You’d be surprised how much tooth sucking the very notion of a marquee provoked.
Fortunately Mr Young has a straightforward take on life and all was well, with the marquee hosting a musical programme created by Wild Biscuit for Mr Young and the council.
The pipes and drums of MOVE, the Wild Biscuit show that wowed audiences at Celtic Connections and VisitScotland’s Expo earlier this year had the large crowd foot-tapping on grass that for Argyll, was surprisingly firm. Beacon Hill, a new acoustic group from Argyll, made their mark on the audience’s attention, as did Orla Ward, a young flute soloist.
A high point in the entertainment was the singing of the song commissioned from Wild Biscuit for the event.
This was The Flame, part of Creative Scotland’s Summer of Song initiative, sung by a choir of around thirty members drawn from from Lochgilphead High School Choir, Tarbert Academy Choir and Coisir Og Dhail Riata.
All the while this was happening, vehicles of all kinds were coming through Tarbet, clearly part of the Olympic Torch Relay challenge, heading north for points of appearance of the flame later in the day.
A singing bus off down the hill turned out to be one getting its message in early, with a reminder of the spiritual dimension to life; and later a woman connected with this bus was in the crowd in the park, with two quite beautiful gauze flags.
What must have been an entire brigade of council staff – many from the Riverside in Dunoon, led by David Campbell, acted as security staff and stewarded the entire operation on the day.
They were unfailingly helpful, efficient, flexible and good humoured. They did Argyll proud and Willie Young could not be more delighted.
The crowd built and built. In the end there wasn’t an inch of space in Tarbet for another car. Residents must have felt besieged but largely accepted it in the spirit of a once-in-a-lifetime event. The normally empty and tranquil Ballyhennan Crescent – where Strathclyde Police hide to catch the unwary accelerating for the hill out of the 30 mph limit (a dirty little trick – said sorely for obvious reasons) – looked like the fringes of the London Congestion Zone.
Back in the village, the crowd waited and wondered when.
Every passing Strathclkyde police outrider got a rolling cheer and replied with cheerful appreciative horn-toots.
Down the road at Arrochar Primary School, parents and children got geared up to greet the Olympic Flame with the most spectacular torches they had made themselves.
The school, with its beautiful garden, pirate ship and wooded grounds on the loch shore is a delight to begin with. Add a cluster of flares of these torches and the scene on Saturday morning was sheer carnival.
We’d been expecting the Coca Cola bus – flying the flag of a key sponsor. They took us by surprise.
There were three Coca Cocla vehicles, each different from the last, each seemingly custom built for the Torch Relay.
Each a visual fun machine.
For us, the stars of the truckfest were those that signalled just how well the entire nationwide Torch Relay is organised.
About half an hour before the flame arrived, two muscle-bound he-trucks shouldered their gaudy way into Tarbet.
It didn’t occur to us that these were anything to do with the event – until they eased in to the verge at the bottom of the hill out of the village and parked up close, lights flashing. These are security hunks of a different kind. If anything gets in the way of the convoy or if any vehicle in the convoy itself breaks down, these toughies will shift it. Talk about a self-contained operation. Respect.
Footsoldiers in the cheerleading brigade came down the road in fine fettle.
As the vehicles got bolder, noisier and more in your face, the crowd began to get even livelier, sensing the imminent arrival of the big moment.
Mercedes satellite transmission vans came through together – to Oohs and Aahs.
A Metropolitan Police car seemed out of place – but was absolutely in its place. The Met are responsible for the security of the flame countrywide.
Everybody started to shuffle into line, to be ready, to see.
There was cheering from up on the A82. It was all happening.
A Torch Relay BMW came through followed by a London 2012 coach.
And there was Argyll’s Myles Clark from Ardfern, in a rhythmic, controlled run down the road with the Olympic Torch – which has been bought for him. Flanked by members of the running team, he swept past the Tarbet Hotel and down to the changeover point where he lit the flame of the next Torchbearer, Billy McPate from Coatbridge, who ran it past Arrochar school.
This photograph of Myles was taken by Willie Young and it seems the right note to end on – making a connection between the two men who marked this particular event as a major achievement for Argyll.
The entertainment carried on. Many stayed on. Some, like us, slipped away satisfied. Job done – well done.
The photographs above are For Argyll’s, with the exception of the first and last ones, of Myles Clark carrying the Olympic Flame into Tarbet and then passing the flame to the next Torchbearer. These two photographs, appropriately topping and tailing this account, are by Willie Young of Argyll and Bute Council, the event organiser.
The village of Luss on Loch Lomond was standing room only this morning – 9th June 2012 – as residents and visitors thronged the streets and the lochside for the spectacle of the Olympic Flame’s scorch through the village.
It got off the bus at the Loch Lomond Arms Hote at the head of the road to the pier. One runner took it to the pierhead, where it was transferred to another runner who ran it straight back up to the bus and away they went.
I spoke to one of the London team’s organisers on the pier. He said they were expecting around 100 people – at which point, I burst out laughing! Luss was mobbed. Luss was hoaching, not just spectators but also midges.
Some of the organisers of the Luss Highland Games – Saturday 7th July 2012 – see you there – have estimated the crowd in the village at 3,000. I’m not so sure it was that much. Where did they all park?
At the Games, they are allowed to open 2 massive fields and they are used as car parks. We didn’t have that today but revising my own earlier estimate of 500 on the highland games committee’s description of the crowds they saw from where they were, I would reckon there were over a thousand people.
Not sure what was going on here, though.
Children, pets, wildlife, picnics, the cool and the hot, they were all in Luss, taking in the view, wishing they lived here, wishing their kids went to school in a place like this. Some of us are lucky.
Speaking of Luss school, I spotted a certain Councillor Dick Walsh here today. Bit late to be getting acquainted with rural communities.
The Loch Lomond seaplane buzzed the pier a few times, like a wasp in the sky, then came in to land – another spectacle.
There were loads of boats around, all getting a really good view from the the roomiest place – out on the water.
Looking over my photographs, this one looks like a major drama – ‘standoff at the pier’ stuff. It was just an interesting image in a single moment – actually the arrival of the Torch.
More obvious now.
A formal moment for our sponsors.
The next Torchbearer was ready and waiting – so was the water, Don’t worry. It didn’t happen.
On the pierhead came the transfer of the flame from one torchbeaer to the next. A member of the organising team seems to be delegated to help hold the torches in the correct position to make sure it all works.
Triumph. But hang on a minute.
Is this a world first?
A giant ice cream cone set alight in Luss.
And away went the flame, like a pied piper.
The crowd were flocking behind it as it moved away, for the fun of keeping in touch with it for as long as possible.
It was off to Tarbet (by bus), to be handed over there to the care of Myles Clark from Lochgilphead.
Myles was already in Luss and accompanied the flame on the bus to Tarbet, alongside the torchbearer he’ll hand over to down the road there. Continue reading
Scotland Transerv are contacting Traffic Scotland to get information up on its website. Continue reading
A creative addition to the spectacular music and dance fusion extravaganza that is Wild Biscuit’s MOVE Continue reading