Page last updated at 16:50 GMT, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 17:50 UK

Massive crowds greet Olympic bus

By Angie Brown
Edinburgh reporter, BBC Scotland news website

Olympic parade
The bus travelled very slowly down the historic Royal Mile

Only 14,000 people are meant to be able to squeeze into the narrow confines of Edinburgh's Royal Mile but organisers said the open-top bus parade by Scotland's Olympians saw 50,000 well-wishers on the historic street to congratulate their heroes.

Edinburgh's Chris Hoy and fellow Scottish medal winners, Katherine Grainger, Ross Edgar and David Florence, made their way down the famous street from Edinburgh Castle towards Holyrood Park to the cheers of thousands of proud supporters.

Old and young had turned out to wave Saltires, banners and messages of support for the Olympic medallists while others hung out of windows to shout words of praise for the athletes. Some even played "We are the champions" from music systems.

Staff from the High Court stood outside to clap as the bus drove past as did MSPs outside the Scottish Parliament, including Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott.

As it travelled down the cobbled street, crowds surrounded the red and white bus as it made its way slowly towards Holyrood Palace.

Royal Mile Primary School pupils wave flags during the parade
Royal Mile Primary School pupils wave flags during the parade

The biggest cheer of support came as the bus passed the Royal Mile Primary School from pupils lined up along the fence.

Using hula hoops they had made the Olympic symbol on the railings of their school along with handmade gold medals.

Hoy wore one of the medals for the rest of the journey after it was thrown up to him from the crowd.

Some people took their t-shirts off and threw them up to the Beijing stars for them to be signed as it drove down the street.

Members of the crowd said what a "great atmosphere" it was and that Hoy had made "good eye-contact" with them before putting the thumbs up and thanking them for coming.

Rita Nicol, 68, a housewife from Edinburgh, said: "I feel very proud of them. I came today to support them because they have done something great."

Rita Nicol and other well-wishers wave their flags during the parade
Well-wishers waved their flags during the Olympic parade

Howie Nicholsby, 30, a kilt designer from Edinburgh, said he donned his kilt and joined the parade on his day off because it was a "special day".

He said: "I am really proud and excited as it shows the Scottish people can do it when they put their hearts and souls into it.

"Many Scots have made a huge mark on the world but the Scots don't often recognise their own achievements."

Ciaran Hunter, 11, from Queensferry Primary School, got off his sick bed to see Hoy.

He said: "I made the trip today to come here because Chris is my hero. I thought he did so well winning his medals. I watched all of the Olympics so I'm really excited to be here."

Flags were being sold from 1.50 on the Royal Mile. There were also campaigners waving "Save Meadowbank" placards, in recognition of the under threat stadium where Hoy began his career.

After leaving Edinburgh Castle esplanade at 1330 BST the bus finally arrived in Holyrood Park just before 1500 BST.

The sports stars came off the bus to sign autographs for fans with the backdrop of Salisbury Crags.

What a setting to celebrate Scotland's Olympic success.

Hoy 'overwhelmed' by Scots return
27 Aug 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife

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