Olympics-Transports of delight for 2012 torch relay
LONDON Nov 7 (Reuters) - China took the Olympic flame up Mount Everest in 2008 but the summit of Snowdon, 1,085 metres above sea level, will mark the highest point of the torch relay for next year's London Games.
What Britain lacks in altitude, it plans to makes up for with the many modes of transport used over the 70-day tour, however.
Organisers LOCOG provided more details on Monday about a tour that will culminate with the lighting of the cauldron on July 27 after the flame travels down the River Thames from Hampton Court Palace.
The 8,000 mile route will take in landmarks around Britain with the flame travelling at times by canal boat, cable car, tram, steam train, hot air balloon and even motorcycle sidecar on the Isle of Man TT course.
It will be carried on horseback, abseiled down a tower, ferried across Loch Ness in Scotland, skated across an ice rink, taken by chair lift and transported on a mountain railway to the summit of Snowdon in North Wales.
"We just wanted to be creative about it," LOCOG chairman Sebastian Coe told reporters in a conference call.
More than 95 percent of the population will be within an hour of the route.
London has chosen a lower profile relay than the ambitious and expensive international route to Beijing in 2008, which included the problematic ascent of Everest.
The details released on Monday did not mention any excursion outside Britain but there remain plans for the torch to travel south from Northern Ireland to Dublin in the Republic to highlight the peace process.
"We are now really working through the feasibility of this," said Coe. "For all sorts of reasons I am very keen for it to (go to Dublin).
"That's not going to eat into any of the time we had allocated for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. This will be additional time and...it is likely to be hours.
"I really would like it to go there but that is now a matter of inter-governmental discussion and clearly any security issues."
The torch will pass through every county in England and all local authority areas in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland after it is flown in from Greece on May 18.
The journey around Britain, taking in 1,018 villages, towns and cities, starts the next morning when the first of the 8,000 chosen torchbearers sets off from Land's End on the south-western tip of England.
Coe said organisers were working closely with the Metropolitan Police in London to ensure the torch is secure along the route, with local forces also involved and a team of 'flame experts' in close attendance.
"There's a (Met) team now that's busily getting into training and I know that they are taking it very seriously because I have spoken to a few of them and even advised them on their training problems," laughed the double Olympic 1,500 metres gold medallist.
"The convoy will probably be about 11-strong in terms of vehicles," he said. "They will be a presence.
"I am pretty comfortable that we will have the right balance and that it will be classically proportionate in the way that British policing always is." (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Dave Thompson; For Reuters sports blog Left Field go to: blogs.reuters.com/sport)
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