AN IMPRESSIVE human chain was formed on Saturday with thousands of pro-independence activists taking part and hailing the new energy of the event.

The Chain of Freedom stretched from Bowling on the west coast to Falkirk along the Forth and Clyde Canal, successfully connecting along the route in most areas.

While turnout cannot be estimated like at other events such as independence marches, images and videos shared online show significant numbers.

However, at the time, activists had no idea whether others were turning out across Scotland. Like any ambitious event spanning multiple areas, the movement was required to trust that others would show up. It was a moment of vulnerability for activists, and it paid off.

The National:

Some areas did report lower levels of participation; however, activists were quick to point out no mainstream media outlets had covered the event, advertisements had been rejected, and word-of-mouth, while their strongest asset, is limited.

One man walking along the canal asked those he saw what was happening, and upon being told, he joined the chain.

Organisers Wilma Bowie and Judith Reid shared their thanks after chain participants dispersed, telling The National: “It’s been amazing, such a fantastic day – and so positive, everyone delighted, singing, people from all over. Everybody had different skill sets, and everybody had different highs and lows, and it just worked – that’s the beauty of it.”

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The pair also touched on the energy of the chain compared to marches. Bowie said: “Today was a different vibe. When you’re at a march, you’re marching along, seeing the same faces, hearing the same people at the end at a rally – we’ve heard it all, we’ve seen it all, we’ve seen there’s no difference at the end of it.

"This is different, and people are asking, ‘what are you doing next?’ – you don’t hear that from a march because you just wait for the next one.

“We’ve been asked about doing a Yestival – so watch this space.”

READ MORE: Chain of Freedom draws in support from Europe

MPs, MSPs, councillors and leading independence figures all joined the event, which was blessed with gorgeous, sunny skies. Many pointed to younger people when asked why they had turned out – “it’s for their future".

Independence minister Jamie Hepburn (below) joined the chain in Kilsyth, councillor Roza Salih in Maryhill, SNP president Michael Russell in Bowling, and SNP MSP Clare Adamson was near Alba MP Neale Hanvey and activist Billy Kay in Bonnybridge.

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Broadcaster Lesley Riddoch joined section 6 and cut the chain of a metal unicorn designed and transported by artist Duncan from Assynt.

As Riddoch (below with Duncan) cut the chain with bolt cutters, she said: “Scotland is currently in chains within the Union, so I am utterly chuffed as we’re all spread out along this canal bank here as part of the chain of freedom … to liberate this unicorn.”

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Yes groups and hubs organised buses to deliver them from across the country to the canal network.

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Around 90 people travelled from Brechin on two hired coaches to take part. Activist David Smart (above)  said the event was "a lot different to marches", adding: “This is one of the biggest things that’s has happened to independence in years, a lot of people here have no party affiliations, a lot have but there’s a big number that don’t – and that’s the independence movement.”

Bowie finished the day packing up and said: “I’ve got a great wee saying: we might not see eye to eye, but we can stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity for Scotland.”