WHEN the September 18, 2014 came, I was already tired and set for a long day and night. Many of our campaigners were up before the crack of dawn to deliver Yes A-boards to all our polling stations. I wasn’t one of them. Instead I was en route to Stirling University for my first lecture at 9am – 250 new students about to listen to a lecture on British politics on the day it was set to change, one way or another.

Because I had a postal vote, my vote was already cast. When the ballot paper appeared in the post, I opened it then sat looking at it, completely overwhelmed. It was just a bit of paper, but then I never thought I’d ever get the chance to vote at an independence referendum. I realised I was completely unable to fill it in alone so went up to my parents to vote Yes with them in the home I grew up in. They were rather bemused by this, of course.

After a day of teaching and meeting with students it was back to Edinburgh to help get out the vote. I headed to Muirhouse and our temporary campaign HQ – a caravan adjacent to a polling station. There was a carnival atmosphere in the area, with homemade banners, posters, flags hanging from flat balconies, etc. We also created some ourselves by arranging for a bagpiper to lead a parade of Yessers through the streets as a voting reminder. We were still out knocking up voters in the dark. However, once that was completed it was off to the count at Ingliston, which was not a happy affair given the result and the fact that the loss of Clackmannanshire so early gave us a pretty clear indication that it would not be our night.

The count was the first time we saw our political opponents in the flesh and, this being Edinburgh, there was a lot of them as they had galvanized their supporters and activists in the latter stages of the campaign. At the count, our main aim was to figure out how well we’d done across our different polling stations to see if our vote had held up and turned out – mostly it did. It was, however, dwarfed by the No vote. Edinburgh voted No by 61.1 per cent to 38.9 per cent. In Edinburgh West, it was 65 per cent No to 35 per cent Yes: 22,615 people voted Yes, compared to 42,946 No. Our campaign had sought to increase the Yes vote to counteract the huge Edinburgh No. We needed other parts of Scotland to deliver a Yes and it didn’t happen.

September 19 was a strange and sleep-deprived day after a deflating night. But, out of the gloom two positive things occurred. First, David Cameron emerged from Downing Street to declare victory and make it sound all about English Votes for English Laws – a particularly tone-deaf thing to do. Second, thousands of people started joining the Greens, SNP and SSP. All the activism and energy from the long campaign was not going to die off in an instant, but about to be redirected into active politics and the political advance of 2015 and beyond.

In his new book IndyRef To ScotRef: Campaigning For Yes, senior lecturer in history and politics Professor Peter Lynch warns Yessers to be realistic and prepared, outlining what must be done to secure a Yes for Scotland.

We’ve been running exclusive extracts all week. The book is out now and available from all booksellers, priced at £14.99.