OLYMPIC chiefs have officially announced the route of the Torch Relay through Northumberland, highlighting the 136-mile journey it will take through towns and villages this summer.
The London 2012 Organising Committee (Locog) this morning released detailed street-level information for each of the 17 communities in the county which will be directly touched by the iconic flame, as it makes its way across the Scottish Border and heads south on June 14.
Escorted by a convoy of 33 support vehicles – which includes official sponsors Coca Cola, Samsung and Lloyds TSB, as well as police outriders – the Torch will enter England from Foulden before heading to Berwick, arriving at around 4.30pm.
There it will be met by the first of hundreds of torch-bearers, specially drawn from the host communities, who will carry it through the town on foot before it is collected and whisked by vehicle to Bamburgh.
At just before 6pm, it will again be handed over to the relay-runners, who will head down Radcliffe Road and Front Street, to Bamburgh Castle, where it will remain for a photo call for 10 minutes, before returning back through the village and back out up the B1341 road.
Its next stop will be Alnwick – one of only four locations in the North East which will host the Torch overnight.
Runners will pick up the flame on Denwick Lane at just before 7pm and set off into town, following a route up Bondgate Without and through the Hotspur Tower, up Bondgate Within and Market Street, before turning right onto Fenkle Street.
The relay will join Narrowgate and pass Alnwick Castle on its way down The Peth to Alnwick Pastures, where the official Olympic Roadshow is being staged that evening.
It is expected that a ‘high-profile’ torch-bearer will ferry the flame to the stage, where it will be used to ignite a ceremonial brazier.
After remaining in Alnwick overnight, the Torch will be leave town at around 7.30am on Friday, June 15, being carried on foot from the Market Place, down Bondgate Within, through the Hotspur Tower and then down to the roundabout on South Road, where it will turn down Alnmouth Road.
Runners will carry it as far as the Oaky Balks junction, where it will be transferred to the waiting convoy and driven the few miles east to Hipsburn.
At around 7.47am it will be handed to relay-runners at the Curley Lane junction with Lesbury Road, who will carry it to the roundabout where the B1338 meets the A1068 and South View. From there, the convoy will take the Torch on to Warkworth, where it will be carried from the bridge, along Bridge Street and up Castle Street, before heading to Warkworth Castle for around 8am. A 10-minute photo call will be held before the Torch leaves for Amble.
Torch-bearers will pick up the relay on the A1068 at Rotary Way, on the north side of Amble, at around 8.16am, carrying it up The Wynd, around the corner onto High Street and then along Albert Street to the junction of Lindisfarne Road.
The Torch will then set off for Ashington and its southern leg of the relay.
Nigel Walsh, cultural development manager at Northumberland County Council and lead officer for the Olympic visit, said: “I think we should be very proud that Northumberland has the Torch for one of the longest periods of time for any county. We have been working very closely with communities along the route, most of which are planning some sort of celebrations.
“Where we have communities off the route, we will be looking to work with them in a positive manner to get them involved throughout the Torch visit.
“We do acknowledge that there will be impacts, involving traffic management, from bringing a spectacle of this scale to the county, but they will be temporary and outweighed by the benefits it will bring to all our communities.
See this week’s Gazette, out on Thursday, for a full round-up of the announcement, plus maps of the route.