THEY had vowed to stay put until Scotland achieved independence.

But a "big bang on the door" of a caravan as the sun rose over Arthur's Seat yesterday morning signalled that after 11 months, time was up for indycamp.

Following a lengthy and bizarre legal battle, which saw a failed bid to call the Queen as a witness and claims that a pro-Yes Jesus had returned to Earth, court officers removed the vans and tents that had become a feature of Holyrood for the past 343 days.

When they first arrived, the protestors said they were recreating the Democracy for Scotland vigil at Calton Hill, a widely respected effort which went on for five years before devolution was secured. They asserted their right to hold a permanent, peaceful protest at Holyrood. The Scottish Parliament authorities disagreed, citing concerns over the neutrality of its estate and right of others to use its land.

Initially hoping the bitter winter weather would see the group off, Holyrood bosses were disappointed.

Gradually, the relatively run-of-the-mill eccentrics who had set up the camp, having previously organised protests against the BBC before the independence referendum, were slowly sidelined.

In their place came conspiracy theorists and cranks, harmless but hopelessly out of their depth. An early appearance in which the group officially dubbed itself "the sovereign and indigenous peoples of Scotland" and called for UN intervention proved one of the more sensible showings at the Court of Session.

Rather than focus on what experts said was an arguable case based on right to roam and human rights legislation, campers tested the patience of courtrooms by advancing theories that Holyrood was secretly owned by a former Tory MSP and procrastinating when asked to provide respondents names and addresses.

But it was the involvement of a religious sect, known as JAH, that saw the case take its most baffling turn. In June, with the number of formal respondents growing, the Court of Session was told that the son of God has returned to Earth and personally intervened in the dispute. Lord Turnbull, the judge presiding over the case, was accused of blasphemy and told that Jesus had ordered the Stone of Destiny to be taken to the camp where it could be used in a "coronation".

By July, the camp had lost its battle, but an appeal was duly launched. In a final hearing last month two different people claiming to be Jesus arrived in the courtroom, with one having to be forcibly removed by the police.

A final ruling came last week, and with the campers refusing requests to leave voluntarily, a forced eviction became inevitable. The group put up no resistance, quietly accepting their fate. The question of costs - with the parliament promising to publish its final bill shortly - is for another day.

As they saw their temporary home slowly picked apart and taken away on vans and pick-ups, the remaining campers said that the involvement of religious elements had harmed their case, but nevertheless maintained that Holyrood was the ultimate culprit.

"The JAH lot were a bunch of nutters," said Gayle Miller, who said she was involved from the start. "The camp ended up having all this religious nonsense attached to it. I think we ended up with three Jesuses. Any more and we could have had a convention. It did have a big impact on how people perceived us."

She added: "I feel sad, angry, gutted for a number of reasons. Whether you were for or against the vigil it was always peaceful and dignified, we weren't doing any harm. The case before the court was about our fundamental rights and a precedent has now been set against that.

"We said we'd be here until independence and that's still the plan. Maybe we'll just move to Bute House."