Northumberland and the Borders will play host to the Olympic torch over three days next June.
The final route for the relay countdown to London 2012 has been confirmed by the organising committee of the Olympic and Parlaympic Games, with the flame set to visit both urban and rural communities across Northumberland and the Scottish Borders in what promises to be a spectacular showcase for the area.
Starting in Edinburgh on June 14, the flame will pass through Peebles, Galashiels and Duns before crossing the Scotland-England border at Berwick and heading south along the scenic north Northumberland coast to Bamburgh and then inland to Alnwick for an overnight stop.
On June 15 the flame will continue its journey towards London visiting Ashington twice in one day, Morpeth and then Tyneside where the cavalcade will end with an evening celebration in Newcastle with the torch being zip-wired from the Tyne Bridge.
The following day the route will cross over to Gateshead, South Shields and Sunderland before doubling back to Low Fell and along the Tyne Valley to Hexham and down into County Durham.
In all the flame will pass through 11 Border and 62 North East villages, towns and cities – 17 of them in Northumberland – as it traverses the UK ahead of the Olympic Games’ official opening ceremony on July 27.
Tens of thousands of Northerners alone are expected to line the torch relay route for what will be a once in a lifetime chance to see the legendary flame, which will be lit in Olympia in Greece in May before being flown over to the UK by British Airways.
Starting in Land’s End in Cornwall on May 19, the relay featuring 8,000 torchbearers will take 70 days to pass through 1,018 places before reaching its final destination in London on the games’ opening evening.
Organisers say the relay will pass within an hour’s journey of 95% of the UK population, giving as many as possible the chance to be a part of the world’s greatest sporting event.
Lord Coe, LOCOG chairman, said: “I’m delighted that the Olympic torch relay will take the 2012 Games to almost every corner of the UK and that we have achieved our ambition to take the flame to within an hour’s journey of 95% of the population.
“Now everyone is invited to plan their welcome and find out where they can go to be part of this historic occasion. The Olympic Games are coming to you as the Olympic flame gives our people and places their moment to shine.”
Councillor Neil Bradbury, executive member for culture at Northumberland County Council, added: “Over the years, many of us have watched on television as the Olympic torch relay has passed through countries and communities across the globe.
“Now, incredibly, it is coming right through the heart of Northumberland and will shine the world spotlight on the special people and places of our county.
“The Olympic flame will not be coming this way again in our lifetime. It is a cliché but it is true, this really is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us all and I am sure that Northumberland residents will join together to show their support for the Olympics and to be a part of this exciting and memorable experience.”
Specific street-by-street details of the relay route will be confirmed next year.
Newcastle’s St James’s Park will be one of the stadiums hosting Olympic football games with nine matches planned for July and August.
Below is a full rundown of when and where you can expect to see the Olympic flame in 2012.
Thursday June 14
Alnwick (Evening celebration)
Friday June 15
Newcastle upon Tyne (Evening celebration)
Saturday June 16
Low Fell & Chowdene
Durham (Evening celebration)
Sunday June 17
High Beaumont Hill
Middlesbrough (Evening celebration)
Monday June 18
Wednesday June 20