CROWDS of thousands gathered for first foray by All Under One Banner (AUOB) into the Scottish Borders Council area.

Kicking off at Scott Park in Galashiels, the march looped through the town centre, returning for a packed rally.

Christine Graeme MSP was among the speakers at the rally. She told The National: “The opportunity for Scotland to regain its independence and full nationhood is growing daily. We still have some persuading to do of those understandably cautious of change and that is our task in the coming months.”

Groups joining in included Pensioners for Yes, English Scots for Yes and Yes Bikers. The march was a sea of saltires, kilts and smiles.

Tania Ferguson, from Cavers, said: “I was really touched to see a pensioner leaning from her window waving a saltire. I wondered how long she’d waited for independence.”

Graeme McIver, chair of Yes Galashiels, described the crowd as “big, vibrant and energetic”.

He added: “In a part of the world that voted No, it looks like things are moving slowly but surely towards Yes.”

AUOB’s Manny Singh said: “I would like to send a message to Javid and the rest of the Westminster establishment. I never took his permission for today... We marched anyway. We don’t need permission to hold a referendum. Nobody is going to stop us from becoming an independent country.”