February 1, 2012 / 11:51 AM / in 6 years

Exclusive: London Olympics flame to land at military base

<p>A prototype of the London 2012 Olympic Torch is seen at St Pancras station in London June 8, 2011. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth</p>

ATHENS (Reuters) - The flame for this year’s London Olympics, scheduled to arrive in Britain on May 18, will land at a military base in Cornwall before starting the torch relay that will end with the Games’ opening ceremony on July 27, documents revealed on Wednesday.

In the documents seen by Reuters, Games organizers are planning for the flame to arrive from Greece at the Culdrose base near Helston with a British Airways flight between 12:30 p.m. ET and 1:30 p.m. ET.

“The Olympic flame will be flown into the Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose near Helston in Cornwall,” London torch relay organizers wrote in the planning documents.

“Culdrose is first and foremost a Royal Navy search and rescue service,” it said.

In the most recent Olympics of Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008, the flame arrived at the commercial airports of those capitals instead of military bases.

The London Games flame will be lit on May 10 in Olympia, Greece, site of the ancient Olympics before a short Greek relay and the official handover ceremony in Athens for the start of the British leg.

The 70-day torch relay will travel some 12,800 kms around Britain, taking in 1,018 villages and the 1,085-metre summit of Snowdon.

The relay will also 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.

More than 95 percent of the population will be within an hour of the route.

London has chosen a lower profile relay than the protest-marred international route to Beijing in 2008, which included the problematic ascent of Everest.

The flame will be carried by 8,000 torchbearers, taking in the outer reaches of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as the Irish capital, Dublin, before reaching its final destination at the Olympic Stadium in east London for the opening ceremony on July 27.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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