Nervy wait for Scots as early results trickle in

2014-09-19 05:47
(Lesley Martin, AFP)

(Lesley Martin, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Aberdeen - In counting centres, jam-packed pubs and living rooms across Scotland, voters were nervously waiting early on Friday for the results of their historic vote on whether or not to leave the United Kingdom.

Be it in the bars surrounding the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh, counting halls in the major conurbations, or homes from the remote Shetland Islands down to Gretna Green on the English border, Scots were up all night on tenterhooks as early results began trickling in.

In the Aberdeen hall where votes from the rural county surrounding Scotland's oil city were being totted up, officials swung straight into action the second the polls closed at 22:00 (2100 GMT) on Thursday.

Boxes of postal votes were tipped out onto the tables and officials in white t-shirts got to work unfolding and stacking them.

Eager observers from the pro- and anti-independence "Yes" and "No" camps buzzed around, straining for a glimpse of the pencilled X marks and a rough indication of how the vote might have gone.

Tubs brimming with sweets kept the 300 counting officials going as they drummed their fingers waiting for the next batch of ballot papers being driven in from the farming villages and fishing towns.

Losing sleep, feeling sick

The Aberdeenshire count is the sixth-biggest of the 32 across Scotland, accounting for 4.8% of the national electorate.

First Minister Alex Salmond's vote was one of those to be counted, in among the ballot boxes from the pro-independence leader's rural home village of Strichen.

"This is the biggest decision I have ever been involved in. Literally the destiny of our Scottish nation has been at stake," said Malcolm Bruce, deputy leader of the "No"-supporting Liberal Democrats, who has represented the local Gordon constituency in the British parliament since 1983.

"To say you're not nervous or apprehensive, when you have a very definite view of what the right outcome is, would be to mislead. It has been nerve-racking and stressful," he told AFP.

"Until you get somewhere close to the end, however it looks, you have to wait until you're sure," he said, adding on the prospect of independence: "I have met so many people who are losing sleep, feeling sick at what they might wake up to this morning."

Booze and bagpipes

While he paced the hall in Aberdeen with a coffee, in Edinburgh voters turned to beer and the bagpipes to keep them up all night.

Around 200 independence supporters gathered outside the devolved parliament, waving Scottish flags and chanting "We're voting 'Yes'," as a piper revved up the atmosphere.

The mood was electric in the Kilderkin pub, right by the parliament, where a band belted out "The Final Countdown".

Most customers piling in were pro-independence.

"We are more passionate. We are more enthusiastic," said 17-year-old "Yes" supporter Cailib Wall, his cheeks painted in the blue and white of the Scottish flag.

"We are going to stay out till the result," added his friend Dylan McDonald, also 17.

To stop the excitement spilling over, pubs open through the night put a 03:00 (0200 GMT) limit on serving alcohol, while police officers were on patrol to ensure order.

Meanwhile at the national count centre outside the capital, where the 32 tallies around Scotland were being compiled, international media from China to Spain had gathered to hear the official results announced.

"Yes" and "No" supporters milled around trying not to talk to one another, while a giant delivery of sandwiches kept those counting the Edinburgh ballot papers going.

Meanwhile back in Aberdeen, Robert Smith, another local Liberal Democrat MP, was trying to keep calm.

"It's a time of relief that you've done everything you can and it's now in the hands of the electorate," he told AFP.

"People have maybe got over-zealous in pursuing the campaign," he added.

"It will be crucial to have a period of healing - whatever the result."

Read more on:    alex salmond  |  scotland

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.