WESTRUTHER sailing starlet Callum Airlie has a summer of globetrotting ahead – but the teenager started it with the world watching him by running in the Olympic Torch Relay.
The 16-year-old got his hands on the torch, which is travelling the length and breadth of the country, on June 14 in Gordon as hundreds flocked to catch a glimpse.
Airlie, who sails in the 420 class with his brother Drew, admitted the atmosphere of the day had left him lost for words.
“For me, it was a tremendous day just because of all the people who turned up and created a great atmosphere – it was a real Olympic spirit,” he said.
“It completely lived up to what I was expecting and probably more, because it hadn’t totally hit me until the day before when I saw it for myself just how special it would be.
“I didn’t know what to fully expect and then all of a sudden it hit me – I didn’t get much sleep the night before.
“Words can’t describe the feeling when it hit me, just incredible, I didn’t know what to say.
“I was fine in the morning, but as the day went on I got more nervous and the butterflies built up, but when I got the torch it all settled down.
“It was fantastic meeting 14 other torchbearers and I feel I have made some firm friends – listening to their stories of why they were selected made mine sound puny.”
Airlie has a busy summer holiday approaching as he prepares to visit Austria for the World Sailing Championships at the end of July, and barely a week later sets off to Italy for the Junior European Championships. But the Earlston High School student, who benefits from being a member of the Bank of Scotland Local Heroes programme, insisted he wouldn’t want it any other way.
“I have about two weeks to myself where I’m going to try and get some work experience – and squeeze in my birthday as well,” he said.
“Being only 17 we are the big underdogs for the competitions so we are just going out there to give it our all and see how much experience we can get.
“This year was all just about qualifying for the teams and making it was a real achievement.
“I think the season has been very successful, but it is all working towards eventually being the best.
“I am actually quite happy with the amount I have planned for the summer, because if you have time off you are stuck in the gym.
“Instead, I get to spend the summer travelling around and going sailing, which is just a dream.”
z The Bank of Scotland National School Sport Week took place from June 11-15 and is Scotland’s biggest school sport event with nearly 2,000 schools and half a million pupils taking part, staging their own games. Find out more at www.schoolsportweekscotland.org