Only 5ft 10 and 15 stone, Jamie is currently the under-25 Highland Games Champion in the Heavy Events category, a remarkable achievement given his physique. He travels hundreds of miles each year to compete at games throughout Scotland and his intensive training programmes and relentless practices ensures he not only remains at the level reached at the HG but surpasses his triumphs by the time the games come round again.
Today the Queen’s Baton Relay reached Scotland’s biggest region, the world famous Highlands. The Highland region is not only huge -you could fit Wales inside it and have room to spare- it is also the Scotland that many visitors imagine. Mountain ranges dot the landscape, interspersed by heather covered glens and dark blue lochs.
With a region as big as the highlands the Queen’s baton relay had a lot to fit into its 13 hour journey from Orkney to Dingwall. The conditions were perfect with the Highlands enjoying hotter weather than World Cup city Rio de Janeiro.
When it reached John O’Groats in the morning, the baton hd already completed an early relay start in Orkney through St Mary’s and St Margaret’s Hope. From John O’Groats the baton ventured south, snaking through Wick, Brora, Golspie, Tain, Alness, finishing the day in Dingwall.
The first batonbearer of the day was Bashir Hasham, 79, who started at the crak of dawn in Orney. Bashir has organised Veteran's Badminton for over 50s. Bashir himself is an active participant and his efforts have provided senior citizens an opportunity to exercise on a weekly basis and stay active. For the last 8 years he has also walked / run in the Hoy Half Marathon, believed to be the second hardest Half Marathon in the UK.
With an astounding 130 nominations (over 6,000 words were written about his selfless, cheerful character by the local community), David Sedgwick is by far Scotland’s most popular candidate for participating in the Queen’s Baton Relay. For the last 25 years he has tenaciously worked as a consultant surgeon at Lochaber’s Belford Hospital, eventually retiring in January of this year.
All the batonbearers received rousing cheers from local residents, none more so than Ionutsa McLelland. Ionutsa spent the first fifth of her life in an orphanage in Romania. In spite of learning difficulties and early trauma, she has become a beacon of positivity, embracing life and people alike with wonderful enthusiasm and warmth. Her beaming smile as she carried the Queen’s message through the Highlands displayed what it meant for her to be a batonbearer.
The final baton bearer of the day was Mark Lee. Mark has captained Scotland's rugby sevens team in both the Commonwealth Games and the World Series. He also led the British Army team to victory in the 2011 Defence World Cup. Mark took the baton on stage at Dingwall to mark the end of a long but hugely successful Highland relay.