ALAN CASTLE: Back in spotlight despite the rain!

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As the much-quoted and clichéd phrase goes – it never rains, it pours.

But at Alnwick Castle on Friday, it did rain and then it most certainly poured.

The famous landmark was hosting the Queen’s Baton Relay – the Commonwealth Games equivalent of the Olympic Torch – and there had been some drizzle and rain during the day as the baton arrived and schoolchildren took part in a variety of sports.

With about five minutes left until the start of the stage spectacular though, with 2,500 ticketholders inside the Castle, the TV cameras ready to roll and the press photographers ready to snap, it well and truly started to pour.

The crowd, which had spread across the lawn and sat on picnic rugs, suddenly transformed into a sea of umbrellas, but as is usual with these things, nobody seemed to be deterred from staying.

On a more metaphorical note, the phrase, ‘it never rains, it pours’, is also appropriate for the high-profile events that have helped put Alnwick in the limelight in recent years.

Since 2011, Alnwick has hosted the weddings of both the daughters of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, visits from the Queen and Prince Charles, an overnight stop for the Olympic Torch and now the last international stop of the Queen’s Baton Relay as it headed to host nation Scotland ahead of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, which start in July.

All have brought national, and in some cases, international, media coverage, which can only help to enhance the town’s status.

And when the light is shining on Alnwick, it’s reassuring that the community always gets involved, always behaves itself and turns out to support the event, come rain or shine.

In the week when it was announced that Tales from Northumberland, presented by Robson Green, is returning for a second series, it’s clear that our county is attracting attention from elsewhere.

No more the Secret Kingdom perhaps, but is that necessarily the worst thing in the world, especially when we rely on our tourist economy so heavily?