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London 2012 Olympics Start in the West Country!

As London gears up for its moment of glory hosting the 2012 Olympics in July, Devon and Cornwall have a very important part to play in the preparations. The traditional Olympic Torch Relay, which is the main lead-up to the games, will start its 70-day long journey around the UK from Land's End on 19 May, 2012.
As London gears up for its moment of glory hosting the 2012 Olympics in July, Devon and Cornwall have a very important part to play in the preparations. The traditional Olympic Torch Relay, which is the main lead-up to the games, will start its 70-day long journey around the UK from Land’s End on 19 May, 2012.

Altogether the torch will be carried by a succession of 12,000 runners over 8,000 miles, visiting most towns and cities in the British Isles. All eyes will be on Cornwall as the epic journey begins, and many people will line the route to cheer as the torch is carried through historic towns and villages in the South West.

Those staying in holiday cottages in Devon and Cornwall in late May will be able to join in this historic event, which will no doubt be celebrated with flags, bunting and local festivities in each town.

May is a gorgeous time to visit Devon and Cornwall in any year, but even more so this year in the lead-up to the Diamond Jubilee celebrations from 2-5 June. Concerts, street parties and special events are being planned throughout Devon and Cornwall and self-catering cottages are being snapped up by families and groups of friends preparing to celebrate this historic national event.

In May primroses will still be blooming along the high stone hedgerows of Devon’s country lanes. Cornwall’s many gardens will also be brimming with rhododendrons and early summer colour to spur on the Olympic torch bearers. Expect temperatures in May to be around 15-20°C (59-68°F) with low rainfall, the perfect weather for a run!

Day 1 – Saturday 19th May

The Olympic Torch Relay will leave Land’s End passing through Sennen, Newlyn, Penzance and Marazion with St Michael’s Mount as a backdrop. Then onwards to Rosudgeon, Ashton, Breage, Helston, Falmouth, Truro, Newquay, St Stephen and , home of the where it will be transported in a Rainforest balloon. It will then visit Stenalees, Bugle, Lanivet, Bodmin, Liskeard, Saltash and will cross the Tamar Bridge into Plymouth, Devon late in the day.

Day 2 – Sunday 20th May

Leaving Plymouth behind, the torch will be carried through the delightful Devonian villages of Brixton, Yealmpton, Modbury, Kingsbridge, West Charleton and Chillington to reach the south coast at Torcross. The Olympic torch then continues through gorgeous Devon scenery to Stoke Fleming, Dartmouth (home to the Royal Naval College), Totnes and the popular holiday resorts of Paignton, Torquay and Teignmouth to Exeter.

Day 3 – Monday 21st May

Departing from the historic city of Exeter, fresh legs will carry the torch through Okehampton, Folly Gate, Hatherleigh, Merton and Great Torrington towards the North Devon coast. Bideford, Sticklepath, Barnstaple, Wrafton, Braunton, Knowle and Ilfracombe will all receive a visit. Holidaymakers in Combe Martin, Lynton and Lynmouth will also get a chance to wave as the Olympic torch skirts Exmoor and crosses the border into Somerset. Porlock, Minehead, Dunster with its glorious castle, Carhampton, Washford, Williton and Taunton are all on the itinerary later in the day.

The Olympic flame will continue to make its way around the UK over the next 70 days before arriving at the opening ceremony of the Olympics in London on July 27.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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