The hills are alive with the sight of YES


  Anyone who knows Richard O’Neill, Bill Fraser, Mark Wilson and Kevin Barclay also know they are dedicated supporters of Scottish independence.
But to underline the point, they decided to make a very big Yes statement that anybody visiting the picturesque fishing village of Gardenstown in Banffshire is unlikely to miss.

The foursome, armed with ordinary garden strimmers, have fashioned a giant Yes in the undergrowth on a hillside overlooking the coastal community.

And already it has become a ‘must see’ for tourists and para-gliders.

Richard, a North Sea oil worker who, like his three friends all hail from Gardenstown, said: “We all want a Yes vote on September 18.  Shouting it from the rooftops is one thing – this is just taking it to another level. We wanted to make the biggest Yes yet!”

The four friends spent several hours cutting out the letters – the ‘Y’ is 25 metres tall – on the brae known locally as Mhor next to one of the oldest churchyards in Scotland.  The remains of the Church of St John the Evangelist which was built in 1513, and celebrates the defeat of the Danes at this site in 1004 in the Battle of the Bloody Pits.

The ‘Yes’ is just a short distance from the cliffs at Pennan, the village where the iconic film Local Hero was partly filmed in the early 1980s.

Richard said: “We are all dedicated Yes supporters. The North-east and the Highlands and Islands will have a quarter of the members of an independent Scottish Parliament compared to only 1% of parliamentarians at Westminster, between MPs and unelected Lords.

“So there’s no doubt that this part of Scotland will benefit hugely from a Yes vote and give us far more clout in terms of key industries such as oil and tourism that can ever be the case at Westminster.

“And having our own government will undoubtedly mean more power being devolved to other parts of the country.

“For us this is all about putting Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands and making our own decisions.”

The four friends – all volunteers for Yes Gamrie (the name of the old parish where the village sits) – intend to maintain the giant hillside Yes with regular outings with their strimmers.

Bill Fraser said: “Scotland’s full potential and growing ambition can only be realised with independence.  Westminster will never put us first.”

Mark Wilson added: “Independence will provide a better future for your children and future generations. Who would not say Yes to that?”

Richard said: “It’s a bit of fun but it’s also a a very bold and deliberate statement.  We have people who’ve heard about it coming here to Gardenstown to see the big Yes and para-gliders from all over the country are flocking here to get aerial shots.

“It’s helped put Gardenstown on the map and we hope that people who come to see our handiwork will follow up by putting their cross next to Yes on September 18.”