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Dumfries synchronised skating stars

The skaters in action Photo: ITV News

Fresh off the back of their most successful British championships ever, the synchronised skating teams from Dumfries are preparing for their next big competition.

The Solway Stars and Solway Eclipse teams won gold in the British Championships for the first time in 21 years, with the junior team, Solway Lightening, picking up a silver.

Increased TV coverage of the sport has helped more people to take up ice-skating, and Dumfries and Galloway Council's ice-skating head coach says popularity is at an all time high.

"I think perhaps the biggest difference is between the club and the council that has laid strong foundations for the sport.

"I'd also say that Dancing on Ice has helped a lot, it just reminded people that skating existed. and i think it just inspired a whole new generation to starting skating."

– Philip Carter, Head Coach, D&G Council

The girls train six days a week and spend hours on the ice perfecting their routines and improving their skills.

Working as a team they can provide a more solid performance and can carry out complex moves at high speeds.

Everyone in the team has to have a lot of trust, and the close-knit family feel is what many of the skaters love:

The girls in action Credit: ITV News

"There's more people on the team which makes it harder to skate together and it gives you lots of co-operation with other people."

– Emily Spence, Solway Stars and Solway Eclipse
Emily Spence Credit: ITV News

Emily Spence is 14-years-old and has been a member at the Dumfries club for seven years, and she would like to see the sport included in the winter Olympics:

"If synchronised skating was in the Olympics then it would be my dream to get there and represent Great Britain. It would be so good just to watch it all too."

– Emily Spence

All three teams are currently training hard for the Trophy D'Ecosse, which comes to Dumfries in the middle of March.

It is an international competition which attracts around 50 teams from across the UK, and there are high hopes for the girls:

"Trophy D'Ecosse is an international and it's the third of fourth year it's been held in Dumfries.

"All teams will be skating at it and i think all three teams are reigning Scottish champions as well. They are very very talented. A lot of dedication goes into it and we are all so proud."

– Hayley McQueen, Daughter skates for Solway Lightening

With help from the likes of ITV's Dancing on Ice, more older people are starting to enjoy ice-skating too.

"It really is a sport that can be enjoyed by everyone. Some of girls have been with us from when they were just two or three years old.

"A lot of them go off to university at 18 and it is difficult to see them go, but they often carry on skating in other cities.

"The main thing is that you have fun on the ice and never forget that that's why you started in the first place. The sport is definitely on the up and our girls are doing fantastically well."

– Philip Carter

The Trophy D'Ecosse will be held in Dumfries ice-bowl from 14th-16th March.