The long road into Scotby village on the outskirts of Carlisle currently features extensive works which promise: Better pipes mean better water.

Perhaps, though, it is unwise to tamper with the supply to this little outpost, for there is clearly something in the Scotby water that sets it apart. Gives it some oomph.

That, surely, can be the only explanation as to why this little pinprick on the world map is able to produce not one but two athletes so talented in their respective disciplines that they are representing Great Britain at a Rio 2016 Olympics which starts today.

Long-distance runner Tom Farrell and hammer thrower Nick Miller, both locally-schooled and locally-trained, embarked on their South America adventure in a green and pleasant childhood idyll that once featured as many as 10 working farms dotted around a village centre dominated by a magnificent cherry blossom tree and surrounded by the All Saints’ church, community hall, shop and the Royal Oak pub.

A view as to what sets apart a village in which the ghost of a horseman riding from nearby Wetheral is often seen on stormy nights and where the last wolf in England was shot dead is offered by resident Sue Appleton.

“I grew up in another part of Carlisle but as you get older, get married, start a family you want what is best for your children and Scotby was always aspirational because of its greenness, good schooling, togetherness as a community and great location,” she says.

“It attracts people with taste and good values. Life here is easy-paced and trouble-free and is the perfect environment for young and old alike. That is what will have helped Tom and Nick. Rather than being brought up on a big estate with its associated difficulties their parents ensured the best start in life. A kid couldn’t ask for more.”

Sue knows what she is talking about. Her own son Keane, who has just turned 16, is ranked 17th in England in the U17 bracket at squash and both she and husband Steve harbour great ambitions for him.

“Just playing and enjoying sport is a great thing in itself,” says Steve “but to get to the top of the tree in your chosen sport, to go on and represent your country, is something else.

“As a parent it means devoting a lot of time and energy getting to and from this tournament and that but nobody’s complaining. We get as much pleasure from watching Keane’s progress as he does from his achievements.

“As a family we’d sincerely like to wish Tom and Nick all the very best in their endeavours. It would be truly wonderful if either or both of them were on the podium, waving the flag not only for their country but also for little Scotby. We’ll be following every second on the television.”

For good measure Sue and Steve are sponsors of both Carlisle Squash Club and the local Scotby football team.

They have clearly bought into the Scotby syndrome.

James Duncan is one of only a few villagers to have been born in Scotby and to still be there active in his seventies.

He tells of there being two operating railway lines and three pubs and recounts the night the village was shaken to its foundations by the randomness of a German bomb.

“It was the usual Saturday night dance at the village hall, in the blackout, and it seems the pilot of a Luftwaffe plane decided to lighten his load while passing over Scotby,” he says. “One crashed right through the roof, instantly killing one of the local farmers. They still talk about it now.

“I was just a babe in arms and my mother would take me to bed with her with the theory that if we were to die from anything sent from above then we would die together.”

Locals identify lots of village characters, such as the dwarf who could regularly be seen drinking the water from an animal trough just beyond the railway arch, while James alludes to the number of Carlisle United footballers down the years who have made Scotby their home.

James ponders, too, on Scotby’s time as a Quaker stronghold and their practice of burying the dead vertically, as is evidenced over the other side of a wall to which he points.

“Good luck to Tom and Nick,” he says. “They’re both nice lads from nice families and they are doing Scotby proud. They are carrying an added ingredient to Rio and that is true Cumbrian grit. That can take you a long way!”

Talking of long journeys, there is great mirth in the Royal Oak as I am regaled with a tale of how one local decided on impulse to visit a lady of his acquaintance in London, summoning a taxi to take him all the way there and announcing that he may be gone for some time.

Just a few hours later he was back in the same taxi, stunning those who had witnessed his departure.

When quizzed as to the shortness of his stay he replied: “She wasn’t in.”

Yes all human life – and plenty of other forms – inhabit this picturesque place where, in the 13th century, their men laid a complaint to the King’s representative against the men of Harraby that when their beasts strayed they were seized and kept until a payment of one penny was made when previously the fine had been one hen and three eggs.

The fight now concerns two men from the village and those warriors who stand in their way of prospecting for gold. Or silver. Or bronze.

And Royal Oak landlord Ian Coulthard sees it as a great opportunity for the community to come together under one roof to offer their vocal support as events in Rio unfold on the television.

“We’ll certainly be drinking to their success,” he smiles. “Come and join us.”