SEPTEMBER, 1977. One thousand CND supporters are marching the six miles from Dunoon to Ardnadam Pier to protest the presence of the US Polaris submarine base in the Holy Loch.

The march is led by the Monktonhall Colliery Pipe Band, but as the marchers approach Ardnadam three young Japanese people in traditional dress, and beating drums, take up position at the head of the march. At the pierhead a short silence is observed in memory of the dead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The demonstrators adjourned to Lazaretto Point, on the shores of Holy Loch, to listen to speeches (the speakers included STUC secretary James Milne and Lord MacLeod, of Fuinary) calling for the removal of the base and for Britain to commit to unilateral nuclear disarmament.

This was the first major protest against the base in 15 years. Ian Davidson, secretary of Scottish CND, said he was “very satisfied” with the turnout.

The marchers had made their way to Dunoon on the paddle steamer Waverley, which had been chartered for the occasion. CND had hoped to hold a meeting, in Argyll Gardens, near Dunoon Pier, but had been refused use of the gardens by Argyll District Council.

In an analysis in these very pages on the eve of the protest, Brian Wilson noted: “It is 16 years and six months since the USS Proteus sailed into Holy Loch for the first time, to be met by demonstrations, sit-downs, and attempts at boarding by canoeists. Effectively that meant that the anti-Polaris campaign, which had developed into the biggest political movement seen in Scotland since the ‘thirties, was lost”.

The instruments based in the loch had become considerably more devilish in 16 years, Wilson added. The following day’s march would be a nostalgic occasion for many participants, but it “should also serve as a reminder to local people and to the wider world that there is enough weaponry stored in the loch to destroy mankind”.

Read more: Herald Diary: The year in review