IT may not be the lap of luxury but the barn Lynne Beattie and Mel Coutts are now training in has changed their lives.

Scotland’s top beach volleyball pair have been selected for the Commonwealth Games, which begin in Australia’s Gold Coast in just a few weeks, but they did the balk at their preparation on Edinburgh’s Portobello beach. Come rain, hail or shine, Beattie and Coutts would be out on the sand, striving to fulfil their goal of making it to Gold Coast.

But as the winter set in, with the frozen sand preventing them training, they realised something needed to be done if they were to be at their best.

So an Edinburgh barn was found, and 120 tonnes of sand ordered, which enabled Beattie and Coutts to begin the year with an indoor training facility that although far from glamorous, has worked wonders for the pair.

“The barn has been a game changer,” says Beattie, 32 from Glasgow, who captained GB in indoor volleyball at the London Olympics in 2012.

“One day we heard from a local farmer that he had some space in the barn and as long as he had enough room for his tractors to get in and out, we could have the rest. Being inside, you don’t replicate the elements but in terms of time on the sand, the barn has transformed our preparations. It’s still freezing – sometimes it feels colder in there than outside - but the sand stays the same which is the important thing.”

Beattie and Coutts will not have it easy in the first Commonwealth Games to include beach volleyball. The Scots will be up against Cyprus, Granada and hosts Australia but despite their tough draw, they remain confident that they can be in with a fighting chance of picking up some silverware.

“We’ve got a tough group,” said Coutts, 47, from Edinburgh. “We know the Aussies will be really good and Cyprus will be a revenge match because they narrowly beat us last time we played. Once we get out of the group stages though, anything can happen. The first aim is to reach the quarter-finals and then it depends on the draw. But a bronze medal isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.”

While both Beattie and Coutts are proud of their own personal achievement of making it to the Games, the pair remain laser-focused on using their success to boost the sport in Scotland.

The weather conditions on these shores unsurprisingly make it hard to encourage children to take up beach volleyball but the pair are keen to use their Games appearance to boost the profile of their sport and increase participation numbers, particularly with the younger generation. And with plans to use the sand they have been preparing on to create a permanent beach volleyball facility, things are looking up for the sport in the coming years.

“The plan is to get the sand to a school so it can sit alongside the development work. It will be used for an outdoor court and the governing body is talking with Edinburgh University to get a proper permanent outdoor court,” said Beattie, before Coutts added her suggestion that an indoor facility is the best way forward for the sport.

“You ideally want an indoor space rather than just a dome that’s still freezing," she said. "Once we come back from Gold Coast, we’ll be trying to develop younger players and get them playing more regularly.”