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50 days and counting to Olympics


Geraldine McCann carries the Olympic flame

Geraldine McCann carries the Olympic flame

Geraldine McCann carries the Olympic flame

The countdown to the 2012 London Olympic Games has reached another milestone with just 50 days until the opening ceremony.

Preparations for the games, which start in east London on July 27, are gathering pace both in the capital and around the country.

To mark the milestone, London 2012 has published a list, 50 Ways To Join In, on a national level and regionally, available from www.london2012.com.

The games will see 10,490 athletes battling for gold in 26 sports and 39 disciplines. They will be watched by 8.8 million people in 34 venues across 19 days.

The Olympic torch relay, bringing the flame lit in Greece to the stadium in Stratford, continues to wind its way across the UK, bidding farewell to Northern Ireland before starting the Scottish leg of its journey on Thursday.

Day 20 of the relay saw the flame travel in Northern Ireland between Newcastle in Country Down and Moorfields, near Ballymena in Antrim, before being taken aboard a ferry for the short journey across the North Channel to Dumfries and Galloway.

It will start out from Stranraer on Thursday morning and go to Glasgow. The flame will spend seven days in the country before passing south across the border into Northumberland on June 14.

It means that the torch will have visited each of the home nations of the United Kingdom, having started in Cornwall on May 19 and passed through South West England and Wales before going across to Northern Ireland. It also made a visit to Dublin on Wednesday in a symbol of Anglo/Irish good relations.

Ivor Hyslop, leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, said: "I am looking forward to welcoming the Olympic Flame to Stranraer and Cairnrayn and feel honoured to host the first moment in Scotland.

"This promises to be an historic moment and will be our moment to shine in front of the world's media. I am sure residents from...the wider Dumfries and Galloway area will come out in force to support the inspirational torchbearers from our region."