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Eilean Siar, Comhairle nan

Day 25.  Tuesday 8 July.

The Queen’s Baton Relay returned to the Scottish islands today as it arrived in Eilean Sar. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is the Gaelic name for the Western Isles council area. The Western Isles refers to the Outer Hebrides island chain that is on the north-western edge of the British isles. Unlike much of mainland Scotland it has a large proportion of Gaelic speakers (52% were Gaelic speakers in 2011) and its own proud island heritage.

The relay set off on the morning ferry from Ardmhor to Eriskay, progressing on to Daliburgh, Lochboisdale, Balivanich, Tarbert, Butt of Lewis, and finishing the day in Stornoway. There was a helicopter visit to St Kilda, the remotest part of the UK and a stop at the island chain’s most northerly point, Butt of Lewis lighthouse.

One of the lucky baton carriers today was Mairi MacIver. Some people sell cakes to raise money for charity. Others run the odd five or ten kilometre races. Not Mairi, who decided to gather money for the Western Isles Kidney Patients' Association by climbing the highest free-standing mountain in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro. By the time she (along with her friend) had topped the terrifyingly-tall 5,895 metre summit, she had raised over £12,000 (over £2 for every metre climbed).

Following Mairi in the day was Lorna Norgrove. Lorna suffered the agonizing loss of her daughter Linda in 2010. Linda was an aid worker in Afghanistan who was kidnapped and killed in a rescue attempt. Since her daughter’s death, Lorna set up the Linda Norgrove Foundation with her husband an commited their life savings to manage the Foundation and give support to women in Afghanistan. Lorna’s story of bravery and triumph over adversity is truly representative of the Commonwealth spirit.

Scottish-born athlete Kirsty Wade made an appearance later in the day. Kirsty is Wales’ most successful ever track-and-field athlet at the Commonwealth Games. In 1982 she was gold medallist over 800m in Brisbane. Four years later she became the only person to have ever completed the 800m/1500m double at the Edinburgh Games. She broke the British records for the 800m and 1000m in 1985, with her achievements taking a full decade until they were surpassed.

The day ended in Stornoway the largest town in Eilean Siar where the famous island hospitality was displayed for the relay team and the day’s baton bearers.

 

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Schedule

09:20Daliburgh/Dalabrog
10:35Linaclate/Lionacleit
15:25Tarbert/Tairbeart
17:50Butt of Lewis
19:20Stornoway/Steòrnabhagh

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Some people sell cakes to raise money for charity. Others run the odd five or ten kilometre races. Not Mairi, who decided to gather money for the Western Isles Kidney Patients' Association by climbing the highest free-standing mountain in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro. By the time she (along with her friend) had topped the terrifyingly-tall 5,895 metre summit, she had raised over £12,000 (over £2 for every metre climbed).

Multi-nominated Katlyn has been volunteering for North Uist Amateur Athletics for the last two years and installs a great work ethic while advocating nothing but a positive attitude to life. Training three times a week for cross country is not the only thing she does out-with school; she helps out with five-to-nine year olds at the athletics club, competes in local competitions and has achieved a Hi-Fires Award for the community over a ten week course.

As one of the ‘Minch Swimmers’, Colin swam from Ullapool to Stornoway in relay style to raise over £20,000 in aid of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. This has made a massive contribution to the Outer Hebrides. He has also completed individual events to raise money for The Leanne Fund, and pays for all costs involved out of his own pocket. Again for The Leanne Fund, he was the lead swimmer in the Vatersay to Ness Swim/Cycle/Run event, and was part of the Big and Little Minch Swim team.

The oldest baton bearer contender in the Eilean Star category, Ethel has long been involved in inspiring young people through sport; she taught young children to swim, takes disabled young adults swimming, been involved in tutoring and accompanying young people to achieve their Duke of Edinburgh awards, has ran numerous marathons and half-marathons throughout the world and was involved in the organisation of the annual Harris Half-Marathon and accompanied a group of young people to an orphanage

Lorna has responded to one of the most heart-rending challenges in life - losing a daughter - by setting up the Linda Norgrove Foundation with her husband, John. They committed their life savings to set the Foundation up and since then have worked tirelessly to manage the Foundation and enable it to give support to women in Afghanistan, where their daughter worked as an aid worker. Lorna’s story is one of triumph in the face of adversity.

Scottish-born Kirsty is Wales’ most successful ever track-and-field athlete at the Commonwealth Games. In 1982 she was gold medallist over 800m in Brisbane. Four years later she became the only person to have ever completed the 800m/1500m double at the Edinburgh Games. She broke the British records for the 800m and 1000m in 1985, with her achievements taking a full decade until they were surpassed.

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