AFTER a turbulent week that culminated in the SNP conference, I have taken a few days to take stock on what was achieved by the #500miles walk. Which one would you pick out of the myriad of challenges that we set ourselves four short months ago?

Would it be the message of blockchain, which has been discussed in fishing villages in countryside where it’s still nigh on impossible to get a 4G broadband signal? We have shown hundreds of people how to use the Clearpoll app, and then showed them how to use it and taught them how to teach other people. We have taken fear out of blockchain for those technically less literate.

A worthy message, but not my pick of them all.

What about the People’s Doorstep Referendum? A manner of getting enough signatures, following the manner of the Scottish Covenant of the 1950s, to make the calling of a referendum unnecessary. A manner of proving the majority of Scots voters not only want independence but demand it.

This garnered support not only from those outwith the SNP but also from many of those in it.

Another worthy cause, but again not the one I would pick.

What the 500 miles did for me was that it showed the strength of unity at times of stress when the very event was in its most danger from fracturing apart.

I was asked a few times “Do you think the 500 miles will convert one No voter to Yes?”

My answer to that was no, I do not. But then we are not doing this to convert a No voter to Yes.

In 2014 an army of activists drew their necks in hurt, bruised and in some cases broken, unsure if they would ever be able to take the pain of defeat again. These were people who all voted Yes in 2014 and it was primarily my intention to convert these Yes voters to Yes activists again.

Convert one No to Yes and you get one vote. Convert one Yes voter to a Yes activist and you get 100 votes.

That was the greatest thing that the 500 miles achieved.

It was best summed up with something that happened in Fraserburgh. Due to having been stalked by some rather nasty people for the previous four days we were forced to make some route changes which led to us being rather late in some destinations. The local Yes group had arranged for some people to meet us outside town together with a piper. We had struggled through bad rain in the morning, and in early evening the sun broke through into one of the most amazing sunsets you can imagine.

I had gone ahead to tell the group that we were on a different route, and as the walkers arrived the hardy souls who had waited for nearly two hours suddenly got very excited and decided on an impromptu march right through the centre of Fraserburgh. Cars started beeping their horns. People came out of shops, cafes and houses and started to applaud, and some even joined us to march to the centre.

One of the local group leaders said she had been in Fraserburgh for 26 years and never had a national event come to her town. Another said they were completely amazed by the response of locals and that they had underestimated the depth of feeling for independence in their own area but that the next day, invigorated, they would be out on the doors talking to these new supporters. Supporters who had voted Yes but who had kept their heads down as the north-est seemed to to slide to the Unionist narrative aided by the one-sided press.

So from an event that may prove to have historical significance in the days ahead from the many, many memories I will take with me, this is the one that I choose. My fellow teammates will no doubt have others.

If you can activate a Yes voter into a Yes activist then you are going to be responsible for bringing home many more votes that by using all your energy to try to convert a dyed-in-the-wool Unionist to Yes.

Thank you to all who helped to make the 500 miles into the phenomenon it became, for taking it and us to your hearts and your homes, for sharing your knowledge and insight as well as your hearths.

If this an example of the country we want to see then bring it on.

Dave Llewellyn