Some 20 minutes along the A96 at Nairn, there was something else burning quite brightly; the hope that Great Britain & Ireland's amateurs can finally end 16 years of misery by winning the Curtis Cup.
They have been getting used to raking over the ashes of campaigns gone sour since that increasingly distant 1996 triumph but, in the wake of a spirited afternoon rally from the hosts, the flames of optimism have again been well and truly fanned.
Heading into today's closing session of eight singles jousts, the USA lead by a slender 6.5-5.5 margin but the GB&I women will go into battle with a spring in their step after turning around their fortunes during a series of nip-and-tuck fourball encounters that all reached a conclusion on the 18th green. Pamela Pretswell, the lone Scot in the home team and a survivor of the 2010 squad, will certainly be on a high. The 23-year-old, partnering Irish youngster Stephanie Meadow in the final match, showed her class and experience as the tension mounted to deliver a telling blow on the penultimate hole of the duel with Erica Popson and Tiffany Lua.
The group had actually been warned by a referee about the pace of play – three hours to play 11 holes is a fairly glacial speed – but, in the end, it was worth the wait. All square playing the 17th, Bothwell Castle member Pretswell upped the ante to dink a superb nine-iron approach to two feet before knocking in the putt for a birdie three to give the GB&I alliance a vital one-hole advantage coming down the last.
"It was maybe two feet but at the time in felt like 20 feet," admitted a delighted Pretswell, after notching her first point of the contest.
With the home pairings of Kelly Tidy and Holly Clyburn, and Leona Maguire and Bronte Law, adding a win and a halved match respectively to the board in the other two ties, Pretswell's match became even more significant. The GB&I duo needed to safeguard that lead and they did, and now there is real momentum going into the one-to-one showdowns.
After losing Friday's opening session 3-0, the GB&I side have shown a gritty determination to keep clinging to the coat tails of their guests. "We had our backs against the wall after that," said team captain Tegwen Matthews. "Now we are just a point behind and I couldn't have asked them for any more. The Curtis Cup is all I've thought about for the last two years and, with the match as it stands, it's going to be enormously exciting."
The enthusiasts on the sidelines should be in for a treat, and they deserve it. They're a hardy old bunch, the golf-watching public. You have to be on days like yesterday, when the sky was as grey as an armada of battleships and the air was laden with damp dourness.
A shivering gaggle of American supporters following one match still managed to wave a sodden Stars and Stripes now and again, while letting out the odd triumphant whoop through clenched, chittering teeth, but it often resembled an exercise in forced enjoyment, like pulling Christmas crackers on a sinking ship.
Despite the general dreichness – mercifully there was a distinct lack of wind, and it did dry up as the day progressed – the US team, 4-2 ahead overnight, kept up the morale of their footsoldiers as they took the morning foursomes 2-1 to extend their overall advantage to three points. For recuperating team skipper Pat Cornett, back in her captain's buggy after breaking her ankle in a freak accident on Friday, it must have been a timely pick-me-up. By the end of the day, though, it was the GB&I women who had delivered a real tonic.