A YOUNG skater who has only recently turned 13 has been selected to represent Great Britain.
Ruby Boyd will be travelling out to Latvia next month for the 34th Volvo Open Cup, where she will be competing against the very best young talents in Europe.
Many of the competitors are going be as much as three years older than herself, but the Elgin Academy pupil will be showcasing a routine she has already practised hundreds of times.
Her intricate performance, which includes 720 degree spins in mid-air, will be accompanied by the overture from Mack and Mabel – music once famously skated to by sporting legends Torvill and Dean.
In addition, Ruby is having a new dress specially madefor the competition, complete with Swarkovski crystals, whose gleam will hopefully catch the eyes of the judges.
The teenager said: “I’m a little bit nervous but I’m very excited. It’s an honour to be chosen.”
Ruby and her big sister Vivienne, who is also a top skater, took up the sport five years ago.
Mum Audrey gave the pair the choice of concentrating on horse riding or skating. Both chose the ice.
Audrey said: “I did a little bit of skating when I was younger and really enjoyed it. But there was no rink nearby back in those days – you had to travel to Aviemore.
“Anyway, we all went down together to Moray Lesiure Centre for the first session. My idea was that I was going to get the chance to show off a bit and show them both how good I was.
“I then decided straight afterwards to order some brand new skates for myself. But by the time they arrived in the post the girls were already far better than me. They were naturals.
“I’ve still got the skates at home and I’ve still never worn them.”
The competition in Latvia, which is taking place from November 8-12, is being held at an Olympic-standard rink in the capital city Riga.
But in advance of that Ruby will be travelling down to Sheffield to meet up with the British development squad.
Then, just a fortnight after going abroad, she will be heading down to Sheffield once again to take part in the British Championships.
Elder sister Vivienne is currently injured having hurt her knee back in August while landing a jump. But the 15-year-old is also hoping to compete in Yorkshire.
As well as natural ability, the sport also demands a lot of effort.
Ruby, who is coached by the team at Moray Figure Skating Club, spends 13 hours a week on the ice and another two hours doing extra training off it.
In addition to weekends, she and Vivienne are often at Moray Leisure Centre at 7.30am and 7am during the week and back again after their schoolday finishes. Audrey said: “I’ve always told the girls that the moment they don’t want to do this any more, then they should tell me.
“They know there’s no pressure on them to do anything they no longer enjoy, but both of them are really dedicated and determined.”