A barn full of sand in the east of Scotland may not sound like the most glamorous of training locations but it’s a hell of a lot better than Lynne Beattie’s last training base.

Beattie is one half of Scotland’s top beach volleyball team and alongside Mel Coutts, the pair have been selected for Team Scotland for the Commonwealth Games, which kick-off in just two months. Until the turn of the year, Beattie and Coutts did all of their beach sessions on Portobello beach which, in the height of a Scottish winter, is far from ideal. It was not, revealed Beattie, the driving rain or high winds which were the most problematic though, it was the Baltic temperatures which would cause the sand to freeze solid that would force them to cancel session after session.

But with the Commonwealth Games rapidly approaching, Beattie and Coutts, as well as Scottish Volleyball, knew that a solution had to be found. At the turn of the year, after after a few bumps in the road along the way, an empty barn in Edinburgh was found that would do Beattie and Coutts, as well as the men’s beach volleyball team of Robin Miedzybrodzki and Seain Cook, perfectly in the run-up to Gold Coast. “After a lot of searching, we finally got a barn and the farmer who owned it said that as long as he still had room for his tractors to go in and out then we could have the rest of the space,” Beattie said. “So that was it sorted. We did a bit of research about where to get the right sand and then a week later, we’ve had a training facility to use until the Games.”

The barn, and its 120 tonnes of sand, may have only been up and running for a few weeks but already, Beattie can see the benefits of being able to follow a training programme without having to make any last-minute weather-related changes to their sessions. “Since we got this facility a few weeks ago, it feels like a weight has been lifted off our shoulders because we now know that everything we want to do, we can do,” she said. “And we can just focus on our training instead of all the other stuff which is such a nice feeling. It’s going to make such a huge difference to us – the number of hours we’ve had on the sand since we got this barn sorted has increased so much and it’s made a massive difference to our performance already.”

Beattie is no stranger to going through a build-up to a major Games. The 32 year-old from Glasgow was captain of the indoor volleyball team at the London 2012 Olympics but in the aftermath of that, she concluded that she wanted a new challenge, which is when she decided to switch to beach volleyball and target Commonwealth Games selection. Her and Coutts were made to wait though – after an arduous qualification period, the pair were finally awarded a wildcard just before Christmas. It was, admits Beattie, a nerve-wracking wait but she never lost faith that the pair would make it.

What makes selection even more special for Beattie is that these Games are the first time that beach volleyball has ever been included in the Commonwealth Games programme and so the pair will make history by being the first female beach volleyball team to represent Scotland at the Commonwealth Games. It is, admits Beattie, who works as a development officer in Edinburgh, quite an accolade for themselves but the greater benefit is the exposure it will bring to the sport. “It’s really nice to be a part of growing the sport and that’s something that we’ve always tried to do,” she said. “Of course, there’s personal ambition and for me, there was the challenge of going from indoor to beach and also to see if I could do two big multi-sport events. But the challenges around beach volleyball in Scotland with the weather mean that it’s very hard to develop the sport and so we felt like if we weren’t able to do it ourselves and show people that it’s possible then who is? So the big picture has always been at the forefront of out minds and we’re just really glad that’s beginning to come to fruition now.”

Beattie is not content with merely being at the Games in April though. She is there to make a mark. The pair face Australia, Grenada and Cyprus in the group stage and while exact predictions are, of course, impossible to make, Beattie believes that a medal is within their grasp. “We always felt that if we could qualify for the Games, we would have a fighting chance of a medal,” she said. “Our initial goal is to get out of the pool and then after that, anything can happen. I definitely think that our experience is a huge plus point for us and that’s the thing that I think might give us an edge over the other teams. Our sights are set on a medal but we’re just going to take it one game at a time.”