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Scouts begin Paralympic Torch climb
Four groups of Scouts are climbing four of the UK's highest mountains to create the flame which will light the Paralympic Torch
Four groups of Scouts have been climbing to the top of the UK's highest peaks to create the flame that will light the Paralympic Torch.
On the day that the first athletes began arriving in London for the opening of the Paralympic Games in a week's time, the Scouts set off at dawn to try to reach the summits in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Expected to take around four hours for each climb, four separate teams set off up Scafell Pike, England's highest peak, Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland, Snowdon in Wales and Ben Nevis in Scotland - the UK's highest point.
Once at the top, the groups used a metal rod and struck it against a rough steel surface to make the sparks that will ignite the flame. The flame will then be placed in a miner's lantern and brought back down on foot before being transferred to each country's capital for a day of Paralympic celebration.
Chris Foster, spokesman for the Scouts, said all four groups were excited and honoured as they set off on their expedition. While being the first to the top is not an issue, it seems the weather has favoured the Slieve Donard climbers.
Mr Foster said: "The weather in Northern Ireland is brilliant and they are the lowest peak. As they've got less distance to travel and because the weather is good, they're expected to get there first. The weather for the others is okay but the concern is Ben Nevis where thunderstorms are predicted because, of course, they have to create a flame when they get to the top."
Each of the teams was looking forward to the climb, he said, and showed no sign of nerves.
"As an organisation we're absolutely honoured to be part of this symbolic occasion," he said. "The synergy between what the Paralympics represents and what scouting represents - it enables all young people to become Scouts and do what they aim for, which is exactly what the Paralympics does."
Today is expected to be the busiest day for the arrival of Paralympic athletes into Heathrow. Athletes from New Zealand and Australia were some of the first through the arrival doors at Terminal 3 and said they had been given a warm welcome.
British Airways is flying in Paralympic teams from 25 countries including ParalympicsGB who are thought to be arriving at the airport next week from their training camps abroad.