PARALYMPICS LONDON 2012: Four flames ignited at top of home nation's highest peaks
FOUR Paralympic flames have been kindled at the top of the highest peaks in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
ALIGHT: The Paralympic Torch is carried to the top of Mount Snowdon after it was created using the traditional technique of rubbing flint together to create sparks and kindle a flame (Getty Images)
Teams of scouts started climbing Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Slieve Donard shortly after dawn and used a ferrocerium rod to produce the sparks that ignited the flame.
The four national flames will then spend time in their respective countries with celebration events held in London, Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff over the Bank Holiday weekend.
They will then come together in Stoke Mandevile, the birthplace of the Paralympic movement, next Tuesday. From there a 24-hour overnight relay, involving 580 runners, will be held, culminating in the lighting of the cauldron at the Olympic Stadium at the opening ceremony exactly one week from today.
London 2012 chairman Seb Coe joined the group that climbed Snowdon, whose summit also hosted the Olympic torch earlier this summer, and reported high spirits despite the chilly and misty conditions.
"We wanted to make it different and lighting it on the four tallest peaks in the four home countries was a great way of starting it off," said Coe.
"I'm absolutely sure this will start the excitement around the Paralympics. We get the Paralympics in this country and this is just a great way of starting the flame on its journey to the Paralympic Stadium.
"I think a lot of people are going to be taken by surprise when they see the quality of Paralympic sport.
"Some were probably watching Olympic sport for the first time during those Games but when they see Paralympic sport for the first time they are going to be blown away by it."
PROUD: Mountaineer Kevin Shields holds the Scottish Paralympic Flame on top of Ben Nevis after it was created by local Scouts (Getty Images)
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