IT began in a torrential downpour which threatened the opening ceremony. And ended in a tropical heatwave which jeopardised the health of its marathon runners.

From Cairns in the north to Coolangatta some 1800km to the south, its venues straddled gargantuan distances and every now and then there was a transport mishap along the way, such as the time when a bemused Grenadan beach volleyball team was deposited at a velodrome three hours away in Brisbane.

The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games was a tournament of extremes, a wild ride which was literally a world away from the comfort zone of Glasgow 2014. But from the moment flagbearer Eilidh Doyle sailed in on a dinghy with a couple of lifeguards, Team Scotland were prepared to give it a red hot go. It was a privilege to be close at hand to see this group of young (and occasionally not so young) Scottish sports people push themselves to the limit.

In the case of Callum Hawkins, of course, this literally was the case. And when it comes to the commitment this group showed when it came to playing for the jersey, is there a better parable out there than the man who ran 25 miles on a day when even grizzled African runners were looking at the skies and making their excuses? Even two falls wasn’t enough to get a submission from this single-minded Scot.

When Robbie Simpson gambolled in for a surprise bronze in his stead yesterday, the nation ended up with 44 medals in all, nine shy of their whopping total of 53 from four years back. This comfortably surpassed their rather soft pre-games target of the 30 it would take to outstrip Melbourne in 2006.

But why should we be surprised? After all, talented youngsters who got such a shot in the arm in Glasgow such as Duncan Scott are four years older now, seasoned international performers rather than innocents in the way of the world.

In an event like this, it is quite simply unrealistic to expect everything to go swimmingly. Commonwealth Games Scotland are quite correct to ask for a thorough investigation into the medical procedures around the Hawkins incident. The family deserve nothing less. That last day trauma will live on as the enduring Scottish image of these games, but there was no shortage of happy, shiny imagery to dwell upon too.

Not everything that Scotland touched here turned to gold. There were, after all, only nine Commonwealth titles here, compared to 18 in Glasgow, and even 11 in Melbourne.

But this is sport, it happens. The likes of Hannah Miley and Ross Murdoch on day one produced brave efforts but just got pipped on the line. Hawkins’ ambition on a day when surviving might have been a better idea took another medal off the board and boxer Reece McFadden, for the second games in a row, was deprived of a shot at a gold medal by a stinker of a refereeing decision. The likes of Laura Muir and Andy Butchart would have been strong bets to add to the team tally if they had made it on to the plane.

Which moments will live with me particularly? Well, from morning one, back at the Southport Broadwater Parklands where all yesterday’s drama unfolded, the Scottish stories came thick and fast. Marc Austin, scudded by the Brownlee boys four years ago, left both in his wake for triathlon bronze.

There was an hourly Duncan Scott watch to be done, the 20-year-old making the kind of splash at this age and stage which only confirms which we all knew about how special a talent he is. He ended up with more medals in a single games than any Scot in history, whipping an all-star Australian cast in their own pool in front of a watching TV audience of around 2 million in the 100m freestyle. One more would have been enough to match Ian Thorpe.

Then there was the Tattie total, as Alex Marshall, an everyman 51-year-old bowler from Tranent eventually became the all-time big potato of the Scotland team with his fifth gold medal. Cyclists Katie and John Archibald rattled off gold and silver medals in the space of 40 minutes, before Mark Stewart – riding with a perforated ear drum sustained in the water off Manly beach in Sydney – refused to listen to everyone who said that he couldn’t beat Aussie legend Cameron Meyer on his own patch.

Having visited this part of the world 12 years ago, these games were everything I knew they would be. The people were unfailingly warm, particularly to those speaking in a Scottish accent, even after Commonwealth Games boxer (and now Melbourne native) Stephen Lavelle caused a bit of a stooshie in a nightclub where Usain Bolt just happened to be doing a DJ set. Games venues largely sold out, even if the Gold Coast largely seemed quiet at night compared to Glasgow. But then no-one was up at 6am and out running on the beach in Glasgow.

They won’t be doing that in Birmingham in four years ago either, the Midlands city having formally been handed the baton at yesterday’s closing ceremony. Challenging times or not, in these days when even nations such as South Africa and Canada no longer seem to have the same appetite for hosting these four-yearly shindigs, the Commonwealth has a role to play in these uncertain post-Brexit times. In this regard, further evidence that the Gold Coast produced a little ripper of a games reside in the fact that Perth is already thought to be interested in bidding as host for 2026. You can sign me up already.