“YOU’LL feel your own power when you're there. You'll get a sense of ‘actually, as a voter and as a campaigner, I can really help move the world’”.

Ahead of the March and Rally for an Independent Scotland in the EU this Saturday, presenters Alistair Heather and Kelly Given are more than a little excited by the palpable energy.

“The stars are finally aligning”, said Heather, “and this rally, I really hope is the start of it - the independence fever is spreading again like it did in 2013/14”.

Given agreed. “It feels like we're moving into a space now where we've cultivated this new movement that is kind of reminiscent of the campaign in 2014. Everyone's very hopeful and it's all about a positive vision for an independent Scotland. I feel really good about it”.

READ MORE: Believe in Scotland to launch group for young independence activists

After the Edinburgh march down the Royal Mile from Johnston Terrace to the Scottish Parliament, the pair are to host the rally featuring several high-profile guests including First Minister Humza Yousaf, minister for independence Jamie Hepburn MSP, author and National columnist Lesley Riddoch, founder of Believe in Scotland, Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp and renowned Scots actor Brian Cox.

With an expected turnout of at least 15,000 independence supporters, Heather (below) and Given feel this event is a real turning point for the independence movement.

“We’ve had to kind of hold our nerve a lot over the last nine years and keep the faith of independence", Heather said. "A lot of times it looked like it was a million miles away, like in the middle of Covid, you're thinking ‘how the hell can we meaningfully disrupt the Covid recovery with an independence referendum?’

The National:

“Maybe we could of immediately off the back of Brexit, but then folk were just so sick of campaigns and politicking and bullsh*t from politicians, so there was no appetite for another big referendum.

“But now it really feels like a lot of things have come together at the right time”.

He cited recent reports of the president of the European Council telling colleagues the European Union must be ready to accept new member states “by 2030” as it is "time to move forward".

Heather, a broadcaster and activist, said: “That's a huge thing for them to be saying, especially when behind the scenes, European diplomats are being so positive to Scottish politicians. That’s a real change which can inspire”.

READ MORE: Scottish independence 'not going away' according to major analysis

Closer to home, “the wind power revolution that we're seeing in Scotland is so massive” said Heather, describing it as an opportunity Scotland can not miss out on.

“So, we have the opportunity in Europe. We have the opportunity here at home with green renewable energy, and then the little sting in the tail of a motivation to leave the United Kingdom.

“Sir Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak are utterly uninspiring. Nobody in Scotland can hand on heart say that they're buzzing to have either of them in charge of Scotland's future. So, we've got such a positive time to be independent for Scotland.

“We've got a really good reason to leave the UK and the EU are making it clear that they'll welcome us”.

'It feels fresh'

In a movement dominated by older activists, activist and National columnist Given (below) said having her and Heather host is like “a changing of the guard”.

When pointing out it was two young people at the front of the rally, Given said: “I think that's what we need, we need to bring young people with us more, it’s them that's going to win it for us.

The National:

“It feels fresh, it's what we've been needing for a long time. It is a bit of a changing of the guard in terms of the movement and who is at the forefront of it, because realistically we've not shifted the polls as much as we should have.

“It’s the same people in charge all the time and the same people in front of the movement all the time. It’s going to be good to have a bit of a fresh perspective”.

READ MORE: How we'll cover the Edinburgh Believe in Scotland rally

Both agreed Saturday will be cathartic for Yes activists after a period of negativity from both within and outwith the movement.

“We’ve all been kind of dragged down by negativity, and within the movement and the position with each other, so it feels like that we're kind of moving into a space now where we've cultivated this new movement”, said Given.

Heather added: “We're all gonna get together on a Saturday and it's going to be so good because it's not a case of getting together and saying, ‘what the hell are we going to do? How the hell are we going to move forward here?’

“It's getting together and saying, ‘we've kept the faith, we've held our nerve and now it's the time to strike again and we're going to do it’”.

And for anyone thinking of going to an independence rally for the first time, especially young people?

Given said: “The very first thing that I ever went to, independence wise, I went by myself and I just kind of took a bit of a leap of leap of faith, and I met some of my very best friends who I'm still best friends with, to this day.

“It sparked this whole sort of new career for me that I'd never even thought I had a place in before.

“So don't be scared to get involved because if it makes you interested in, even just generally if you're interested in politics and feel you don't have a voice, don't be afraid to go.

“Go and do it. Go and be heard”.

“You’ll feel your own power when you're there”, Heather said. “You'll get a sense of ‘actually as a voter and as a campaigner, I can really help move the world’.

“In my first rally in Edinburgh when loads of us turned up and marched down the Royal Mile, I realised, ‘hold on, there's power here and I'm part of it, and we are able to change things for the better together’.

“I think that's a really empowering thing for any young people to realise that they're more than just a vote. They’re more than just a number. It can be part of a movement that can genuinely make things better in the immediate future for Scotland”.