In the early hours of this morning, a young man named Ross McClelland carried the Olympic torch through the streets of Stranraer.
The 20-year-old from Ayr was the first of more than 100 people who will take part in the procession of the torch at the start of its five-day tour of Scotland.
Mr McClelland is a soldier who has not only served in Afghanistan. He also has ambitions to become a long-distance runner and one day compete in the Olympics. In many ways, he personifies the spirit of this great event.
Most of the other torchbearers in Scotland can tell similar stories of hard work and commitment. Some have volunteered in their communities, some have cared for partners during ill health, others have dedicated their lives to playing and promoting sport, including Paralympian Michael Kerr and the cyclist Danny MacAskill, who will both carry the torch in Glasgow. Others have already achieved Olympic greatness, such as curler Rhona Martin.
After months of promotion and hype, there has been some cynicism and heated debate about the scale of the event but the fact these people are carrying the torch in a chain across Scotland demonstrates that the influence and appeal of the Olympics can spread far beyond London to celebrate and include hundreds of people who work hard in their communities, often for no money.
This is not to deny that money has played its part. Some of the torchbearer positions have been awarded to employees of big sponsors and there has been dismay at the fact that some of the participants have put their torches up for sale on eBay.
This does seem contrary to the spirit of the Olympics. However, an event on this scale could never be staged without the big money in sponsorship multinationals provide. The sponsors have also insisted that the torchbearers they nominated have made a contribution to their local communities. Their participation is the small price we pay for an event that has clearly inspired hundreds of people of all ages to take part.
Doomsayers will complain about the disruption and road closures as the torch makes its way from Stranraer up the west coast and on to Glasgow, but the last torchbearer of the day should remind us why the torch is being carried round Scotland in the first place.
Ross Morrison, 18, from Auchinleck in Ayrshire, wants to become a professional basketball player and has set up a fund to help young people with similar ambitions. It is what this procession of the flame is about: sport as hope and inspiration but also as something that can change lives.
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