Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Olympic Flame and Toquay

So the Olympic Flame is going to start it's journey through Torbay at a small, low tech but very handy former Jet Petrol Station and used car dealership on the out skirts of Paignton. It is now an independent dealership since Jet pulled out of the South West. Will the proprietors, Wilding Motors, be able to win customers by advertising the fact, "By Appointment to the Olympic Flame".
Then it come down to Paignton via the infamous Tweenaway Cross. It's a good job Torbay Council spent millions improving the junction or there could have been a serious hold up there. That wouldn't have looked good on the tourist brochures.
Then down into Paignton and along Torbay Rd through the town centre, past Oldway Mansions and through the Preston bottleneck. Then through Livermead where if it is high tide and there is a strong east wind the road gets closed because the sea comes over the seawall, twenty foot waves have been seen crashing onto to the road in that area. We can but hope for the best; there are easy to follow diversion signs posted so shouldn't be too much of a problem.
At the Grand Hotel the Flame will turn left up Rathmore Rd to The Riviera Centre, good job the mayor insisted on pumping hundreds of thousands of pounds into the place otherwise the Flame might have ended up resting in the now world famous Grosvenor Hotel.
After lunch it's back onto the sea front via Rathmore Rd past the site of the Hyflyer balloon. The Balloon isn't there at the moment, it got blow down a few months ago so it will miss it's moment of fame as the Flame goes by.
Then it's under Rock Walk, recently made safe by the council so little danger a falling rock might extinguish the Flame ignominiously before passing the Pavilion, desperately in need of millions of pounds worth of repairs, and round to the Harbour and turning left at the Clock Tower. The Clock Tower was recently tarted up so should look good on the TV.
Then up Torwood St, which looks a mess because shops have been closed for two years awaiting demolition and renewal, and then along Babbacombe Rd to Babbacombe. I glad I ain't running that bit, it's all up hill. At Babbacombe the Flame will enter Fore St near the Babbacombe Corinthian Sailing Club where I once met HRH Princess Anne. I should add she hadn't come to see me, she was attending a function at the Sailing Club and I was standing about and she said hello and asked about my health, which was nice of her.
From there it will be taken in convoy to Shaldon. Now when I first heard about the Olympic Flame and it's relay race round the country I believed it was going to be carried by runners all the way but no. Parts of the journey it will be carried in a vehicle. ( An open top bus?). The stretch between Totnes and the Jet Station I mentioned earlier a vehicle will be used and a vehicle will carry the Flame to Shaldon Bridge where a runner, or maybe two, it is a long bridge, will carry it across to Teignmouth. That's all Teignmouth gets of the Flame because it's back to the convoy for the trip up to Exeter Cathedral where it will spend the night. If I lived in Teignmouth I would be a bit pissed off, after all it couldn't have added more than 20 minutes to the journey time to run through the town. And it is a nice town, though it was invaded and partly destroyed by the French some years ago.
All this will happen on Sunday May 20 and I will be there somewhere on the route to get a couple of photos, probably at Corbyn Head. Then while the Flame is having a well earned rest at Torre Abbey I'll walk into town and get a few more shots somewhere. Two for the price of one as it were.
Good luck and well done to all the runners, what ever you do, don't drop the bloody thing, you'll never live it down.

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