The Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay has reached a significant milestone, having completed a 269-day international journey across 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth. It comes as the Baton has just completed visits to the Home Nations: Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.
The Relay officially began its journey on 7 October 2021, and by 28 July 2022, it will have visited all 72 Commonwealth nations and territories, bringing cultures and communities together in the lead up to Birmingham 2022. When each Commonwealth Games Association hosts the Queen’s Baton, they organise an impressive schedule of events to celebrate their local heroes, untold stories, and sustainability efforts.
The Queen’s Baton spent five days in Scotland, host of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, from 18-22 June. On the first day, Batonbearers took the Baton to Loch Ness, the internationally renowned home of the Loch Ness Monster, and spent the second day exploring the Isle of Arran, off the west coast of Scotland. On Arran, Batonbearers visited the Ormidale Pitches in Brodick.
On 20 June, the Baton was taken to visit Dumfries House, which is part of the Prince's Foundation, established in 1986 by the Prince of Wales. On the final day in Scotland, the Baton was present for community celebrations at Priorsford Primary and Dumfries Sports Club, giving the children the once-in-a-lifetime chance to interact with the Baton. The Baton also visited Lochcarron of Scotland, who have made the Team Scotland tartan that the athletes will wear during the Birmingham 2022 Opening Ceremony.
Heading next to Northern Ireland on 24 June, the Baton was taken to visit a selection of care and support centres, such as the Men’s Shed, which aims to brings isolated older men together to develop their skills in a range of arts-based activities. The second day in Northern Ireland, saw Batonbearers mountain bike, swim in open water, and kayak in Portrush. Next, the Baton visited Giant’s Causeway, the country’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Batonbearers visited Linen Mill Studios, on the third day, to celebrate Irish film and TV production history. On the fourth and final day, the Baton was taken to engage with Orchardville, a social enterprise which provides employment opportunities for young people with disabilities.
On the first of five days in Wales, the Baton arrived in the country on a lifeboat and was welcomed at a reception at Holyhead sailing club, where Shenkin the Goat, the Goat Major, and the Royal Welsh Band were awaiting its arrival. The second day saw the Baton board a steam train to Abergynolwyn before heading to a climate change debate in Aberystwyth, where Batonbearers discussed environmental action plans.
The following day, Batonbearers visited Castell Henllys archaeological site, before local Sea Cadets relayed the Baton down the Dock at Lower Fishguard Harbour and into the sea on boats. On the fourth day the Baton reached new speeds with a Batonbearer zooming down Rhigos zipline.
On the final day of the Queen’s Baton Relay’s international route, the Tigers Army Parachute Display Team parachuted into Swansea Air Show with the Baton, before Batonbearers relayed around the grounds.
Today, the Baton will embark on its 25-day tour of England, where it will visit every region, marking the final leg of this epic journey. Kicking off at the Eden Project in the South West of England, Denise Lewis OBE will receive the Baton on behalf of Team England then pass it onto the first Batonbearer, who will carry the Baton on a zipwire. The Baton will then visit every region, with the final eleven days touring the West Midlands, before reaching its ultimate finale at the Birmingham 2022 Opening Ceremony.
Ian Reid, Chief Executive Officer for the Birmingham 2022, said: “In the 269 days since the Baton began its journey from Buckingham Palace the Baton has travelled to 71 Commonwealth nations and territories and has engaged with so many extraordinary people along the way. The Home Nations have all put on incredible programmes which have given the international route a fantastic finale.
“It's now England’s turn to take it on and host the Queen’s Baton Relay in the final few weeks in the run up to Birmingham 2022. Around 2,000 inspirational people are going to have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of being an official Batonbearer, joining the international community of Batonbearers. I look forward to seeing the remainder of the Baton’s monumental journey unfold.”
CGF President Dame Louise Martin said: “The Queen’s Baton Relay has been on an incredible journey across the Commonwealth and we are now set for an inspirational final leg as it travels across the Home Nation. Excitement and anticipation are really building as the Baton heads towards the Opening Ceremony on 28 July 2022 and on its final journey across England, it will inspire so many people while showcasing the very best of Commonwealth Sport.”
Commonwealth Games Minister Nigel Huddleston, said: "In just 25 days the baton will be welcomed home to Birmingham for the start of the biggest multi-sport event hosted in the UK since London 2012.”
"The Eden Project is a fitting location to kick off this England-wide tour that will bring communities together, showcase landmarks and local heroes and build excitement towards Birmingham 2022."
Paul Bush OBE, Chair of Commonwealth Games Scotland, said: “It is really important we bring the Baton to communities - these are life-changing moments for many people. The Baton brings the Games to those who won’t be with us in Birmingham, and really builds the excitement for what is to come.”
Conal Heatley, Business & Operations Manager, Commonwealth Games NI, said: ‘We’re delighted to have hosted an exciting leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay when we had the opportunity to shine a light on some wonderful organisations and individuals who are making such a positive impact within their communities. We were humbled by the unsung work that goes on day and daily across all age groups and all sections of the community in Northern Ireland. Culminating with a team dinner when we were joined by many of these community organisations, the Baton’s visit certainly helped us to live up to our tagline of ‘One Community – One Team.’
Ian Metcalfe, Chair of Commonwealth Games England said: “The countdown to the Games is well and truly on now, as we welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay on its tour of England. The next 25 days will see over seventy Team England athletes, past and present, join in with the celebrations and share the pride of carrying the Queen’s message across the nation. “
“The Queen’s Baton Relay is a symbol not only of the Games, but of the entire Commonwealth uniting nations, communities and culture ahead of Birmingham 2022. It has been a pleasure watching the Baton travel through the other nations and territories, as well as London over the Jubilee weekend, and the next few weeks are set to be truly wonderful.”