THE pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign may have "a mountain to climb" but its chairman yesterday told the SNP conference: "I like climbing mountains."

Former Labour MP and Independent MSP Dennis Canavan said simple arithmetic meant SNP voters alone could not deliver victory next year, and the campaign needed to convert the supporters of other parties and none.

In a passionate speech, Canavan said he was not asking people to vote for the SNP, but for a "better Scotland" and a more socially just society.

"Some of the opinion polls and political pundits tell us that we have a mountain to climb," he said. "I like climbing mountains. I enjoy a challenge and this is probably one of the greatest and most exciting challenges we have ever faced, and Yes Scotland is determined to rise to that challenge."