21 May 2012

Torch starts its journey around Britain

6:35 am on 21 May 2012

The Olympic flame was greeted by thousands of cheering spectators as it began its 70-day relay journey around Britain and Ireland ahead of the 2012 London Games.

Triple gold medal-winning sailor Ben Ainslie was the first torchbearer, setting off from Land's End, England's most southwesterly point, before a succession of runners carried the torch through Cornwall to Plymouth.

After travelling barely 300 metres, he passed on the torch to 18-year-old Anastassia Swallow, a surfer who is hoping her sport will one day become an Olympic discipline.

Over the next 10 weeks, the flame will travel 13,000 kilometres around England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and will also visit the Republic of Ireland.