<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
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Orkney and Shetland
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The stag at bay. Glens and bens. Castles and ceilidhs. The familiar shortbread-tin images of Scotland are clichéd but effective symbols for a country where tourism is a major earner.

The bonnie, bonnie, banks of Loch Lomond are famed in song. But few who take the high road towards the “steep steep slopes of Ben Lomond”, realise that among the traffic hazards they may face en route are convoys carrying nuclear bombs, which regularly share the same road. Or that they are a few miles from the biggest arsenal of nuclear bombs in Europe – Coulport, a short hike away over the moors to Loch Long.

Westering home through the heather-covered hills, our unsuspecting tourist will go through Glen Fruin, passing hills hollowed out to accommodate a huge NATO arsenal of what are laughingly called conventional weapons. Arriving at Gareloch, he or she will be struck by the horrendous sight of Faslane stretched out along the shore of the loch. This is Britain’s nuclear submarine base. From here Trident boats sail out threatening unimaginable slaughter to vast numbers, maintaining a continuous round-the-clock patrol seven days a week, year in, year out.

All this can be seen on just one brief trip. But all of Scotland is if fact enmeshed with military bases and facilities. From Thurso in the north, to Dundrennan in the south, this beautiful land is marred and scarred by the works of the military. Ultra-low flying aircraft, live shelling, radioactive pollution, and environmental damage take their toll. The price Scotland pays for our Faustian bargain with the MoD is a degraded and abused land, polluted waters, and an economy heavily biased towards the military to the detriment of socially productive activities.

Perhaps the Scottish Tourist Board should take a more positive attitude towards the bases, and promote these as attractions. Bus tours round our nuclear arsenal; sailing “doon the watter” on a Trident submarine; bouncy castles in the bases – all that sort of thing. With miles and miles of weld-mesh fences and razor wire, armed guards and watch dogs Faslane and Coulport are not exactly “Granny’s Hielan’ Hame”, more Brigadoom than Brigadoon, but what the heck.

Most Scots are blissfully unaware of the extent to which their land is occupied and abused by the military, and there has long been a great need for public education on this matter. This pamphlet, Fortress Scotland 2004, published by Scottish CND will provide much needed information on bases. It is valuable to all who are concerned about this land, and is a vital tool for peace campaigners.

Meanwhile the tourist standing in dismay in front of the monstrous carbuncle on the Gareloch can turn round and see opposite it, Faslane Peace Camp, an ever present witness of unyielding opposition to Britain’s illegal nuclear WMD.

Our visitor can take comfort from the knowledge that here, and all over Scotland, there are folk working towards that happy day when the bases are gone, and the land and waters are healed; when this book will be an item of historical interest, a museum piece.

Till then, it is essential that folk read it, and are moved to action by it.


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