cnd logo

     Scottish CND      Magazine

Trident Ploughshares 2000
Coulport In November

August protests

Friends told me I must be mad to camp in November in Scotland. But it turned out all very nice. The weather played its part. It was brilliant sunshine and dry, the views of the surrounding hills and glens were stunning, with the exception of the two major eyesores in the area (RNAD Coulport and CSB Faslane). It was freezing cold at night, yet the atmosphere around the campsite was warm.

Where shall I start? There were brilliant actions, many arrests, interviews with Radio Scotland and BBC World Service. Finnish TV2 (YLE) was making a documentary and there were friendly faces on all sides and good co-operation. But let me describe things in more detail.

The camp was planned as a weekend affair but the trial of Hans and Hanna in Helensburgh on the Tuesday made it necessary to extend the camp forward by a few days to accommodate the international folk coming over. So things were already in good shape by the time the majority of people arrived for the weekend. On Thursday Peter and Rupert were entertained at HM Pleasure for attempting to inspect RNAD Coulport for illegal nuclear weapons. Friday saw its first major excitement when Angie, Katri, Krista and Hanna, on the way to a prison visit for Peter and Rupert, never arrived at their destination. It turned out that they felt very much invited by the wide open gates of the base and were waved through two check points and only had to terminate their inspection of the base when they were stopped well inside. They were in prison over the weekend. On Saturday morning the Adomnan of Iona Affinity Group held a service outside the North Gate of Faslane. At the end of the service they linked the chains they were wearing under their clothes together with padlocks and lined up in front of the gate, thus blocking any traffic in and out of the base. This was especially powerful as Morag was sitting in a wheelchair. After an initial attempt to enter the base and go down to the ship lift to disarm this facility, the group was pushed back and the gate was closed. A lorry arrived seeking entry, the group followed it in and were arrested. “It is not easy to arrest someone who sings so nice songs at you. Your songs are so catching we have all started to sing them.” the police told them. There were more activists and actions. The fence was cut to offer a way in to inspect and disarm the Trident Nuclear Weapons system. There were dances in front of the gate, there was drama.

Two prominent Scottish church leaders (Maxwell Craig, General Secretary of ACTS [Action of Churches Together in Scotland] and Norman Shanks, Leader of the Iona Community) held a service at the North Gate on Sunday. They reminded everybody that all the churches in Scotland and many, many churches in the world have categorically stated that Nuclear Weapons and the policies associated with them are a sin.

Thanks are due to the folk who helped to put up and take down the camp, led by Tamson and Jane; the folk behind the scenes; those who support their activists in the affinity groups, those who came and helped with the media work (Kathryn and Andrew deserve special thanks); those who dug the compost toilets. Compliments go to Ganesh and his group who fed and watered us so well. The list is endless.

Nobody really likes to have nuclear weapons in their back garden but it seems that for many local people the “saving grace” is that the bases offer jobs to the local community. That stops most people asking for an end to them. However, much could be done with 900 million a year to provide constructive employment instead of the every day dealing with the death of the world.

Dirk Grutzmacher

Scottish CND      Magazine