Published: 06/04/2012 10:21 - Updated: 06/04/2012 11:14

Boat of Garten Olympic man gets a handle on torch duties

Robbie in training
Robbie in training

The only person from the strath to be given the honour of carrying the Olympic flame ahead of London 2012 has been busy training – with a pickaxe handle doubling as the famous torch.

Mr Robbie Young, (59), from Boat of Garten, will be pounding the streets of the Highland capital on June 9. He has been recognised for his voluntary work with disabled snowsports.

He said: "I’m really looking forward to the big day but not necessarily the training. They have not said how far I will have to run, but I guess it will be around two miles.

"I am out running every day – doing two miles a day just in case.

"Having seen a couple of these torch relays in other countries, I’m confident the flame will withstand all the Highland weather might have to throw at me.

"The torches are pretty sturdy things, so I’m not expecting it to go out, but they are a wee bit heavy than most imagine.

"I’m using a pick handle at the moment to get used to it; mainly round the garden. It’s something with a bit of weight."

Mr Young said his family is very proud of the recognition.

His wife, Fiona, is chief executive of Disability Snowsport UK, based at sportscotland’s Glenmore Lodge. One of his daughters, Keira (23), teaches disabled people to ski at the indoor slope at Braehead, by Glasgow, and the other, Claire (27), owns the Silverfjord Hotel in Kingussie.

Mr Young, of Deshar Road, is the vice-chairman of Disability Snowsport UK, and within that he helps with the running of the Great Britain national paralympic team.

He was nominated for the honour of carrying the torch by Andrew Lockerbie, former chairman of the British Association of Ski Instructors.

He said: "I have been involved with disabled skiing in excess of 30 years but involved in running the national team started two years prior to the Turin games, and in Turin in 2006 I was the team manager."

At the following winter games in Vancouver in 2010, he was the GB team’s technician helping to prepared ski and other equipment for the seven British competitors.

For his full-time job, Mr Young works for Salomon, the famous ski and outdoor equipment maker, as a sales manager for everywhere in the UK north of Manchester and also for Ireland.

He said: "I knew I was up for selection for the Olympic Torch Relay pre-Christmas, but it was only officially announced to me a few days before the nationwide release of the names. It came through via e-mail, stating that I had been successful.

"All the organisers have really told me is that I will be in Inverness, and no more detail than that so far.

"It is nice to be asked to come along and represent the strath.

"I have a good idea who put me forward, and it was probably due to the fact that I have been very involved in disabled skiing.

"I have a feeling it was my friend Andrew Lockerbie, who was the chairman of BASI (the British Association of Snowsport Instructors) up to a couple of years ago and knows what I have been doing over the years."

Around 8,000 people who will carry the torch around the UK ahead of the London 2012 Games.

There have been some complaints that no locals will be taking part in the Olympic Torch Relay in Badenoch and Strathspey, but at least they will not have to travel as far as Martyn Morrison.

Newspapers have reported that the Colchester man will have to head 360 miles from his home to run through Dumfries, which will be his very first visit to Scotland.

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