TRISTAN Cousins was born south of the Border, but the 18-year-old nephew of former Olympic gold medallist Robin Cousins has been forced to move to Scotland to fulfil his dream.

Rural Ayrshire is a far cry from the Bedfordshire hamlet of Clophill made infamous as the home of James Hanratty who was hanged for the A6 murder.

Tristan's ambitions have split his family as mum June now stays with him in a rented, 200-year-old farmhouse in Dalrymple, near Ayr, while dad Martin, a financial adviser, still lives in the south-east.

It's a sacrifice the family are prepared to make, but even an Olympic gold medal is unlikely to allow him to emulate a famous relative who has a statue in the heart of Edinburgh's Princes Street.

Tristan, however, has shown that he has what it takes to win titles with his victory in the junior men's section at the recent British Figure Skating Championships at Prestwick.

The determined teenager had to skate through the pain barrier to compete in the championships. Several months ago he suffered a painful hip injury which refuses to go away.

It was an unwanted handicap for the skater who has fallen in love with Scotland, but not with their rented farmhouse home.

''All sorts of things go bump in the night and I'm getting to the stage where I believe it's haunted,'' said the skater, but the ghost of his famous uncle Robin, who triumphed in Lake Placid, has not dogged Tristan's career.

In fact, the closest he has been to his relative for years was Christmas when Robin starred in a pantomime in Belfast - just across the Irish Sea. The family, naturally, made the trip to see a performance.

It's all part of life's rich tapestry which has drawn the family north, enticed by the skating academy at The Centrum Arena.

There, an elite squad of champions and potential medal winners from all over Britain has been established under celebrated Canadian coach Kevin Bursey.

Neil Wilson, the British men's champion, and junior ladies' title holder, Vicky Hutchinson, are involved along with Tristan in the full-time programme which includes classes in technique and even ballet and dance, competition simulations and video analysis.

Consultants including America's world and Olympic coach Kathy Casey and Olympic silver medallist Brian Orser from Canada have been involved, and former world professional champion, Lorna Brown, has just been added to the staff.

Tristan joined in July after successfully completing three A levels, and is desperate to make up for lost time having had his career interrupted by rink closures down south.

He was frozen out of the sport when both Stevenage and Milton Keynes shut their doors but the up-and-coming skater, who came fifth when representing Great Britain in a competition in Slovenia four years ago, was determined not to hang up his skates.

The Centrum facility provided the catalyst and he travelled north with his parents and fell in love with the programme and life on the west coast.

June and Martin put their house on the market and have suffered as three potential deals collapsed.

Thankfully, the property looks to have been sold but they have no idea what the future holds as much depends on Tristran's success.

His continued inclusion in the Scottish school is based on performance and the family's willingness to fund his training which costs around #10,000 a year.

Thankfully, an American woman who knows his uncle is helping to sponsor Tristan and June said: ''The contribution is extremely helpful but it's tough as we can't find anybody in Britain to help us. It's a costly business when you sit down and work everything out.

''Tristan is desperate to succeed but, unfortunately, his uncle has not been involved so far as he's here, there and everywhere around the world with his commitments.

''Robin's diary is packed and the only time he had this year was in the spring when Tristan was off-ice concentrating on his A levels.

''Then Tristan suffered this hip injury and doctors told him to rest as that's the only real cure, but he had to do programmes for the National Ice Skating Association and was so desperate to make up for lost time that he continued to skate.

''Although he is English, his grandmother was from Perth and his mother has two Scottish brothers, both born in Edinburgh.

''Tristan wants to remain in Scotland, and, indeed to put this country on the skating map, but much depends on his performances as nobody is guaranteed a place in Centrum's elite squad.''