Sunday, 24 February 2013

Devils Ditch my wee book

Devils Ditch




This book is the true tales from my travels over the years , although
some names have been changed to protect the GUILTY.. all events are
actual events from along the roadside... Devils ditch is a tale that
happened over a few mad weeks back in the 80's and although since them
days many things have improved for the traveller much still exists
just below the surface every now and again bubbling up through .the
truth is revealed . But all I can say is that since coming hame tae
Scotland . NOT once have I had trouble with the police or various
councils and apart from the odd person

we have been accepted wherever we wander ...



I would like to take this chance tae thank the many many wonderful
people I have met along the road .. I hope through this book and the
ones too follow I will be able tae send oot a wee hug across time and
distance wherever you all are ..

My biggest thanks goes tae my wonderful wife Mel.. who without her
help I would never have been able tae sit doon and get my tales oot ,
for the many many hours spent listening tae me waffle on and on about
this and that a huge huge hug xxxx

May we all meet up somewhere doon the road




The Moor ..... page

Pressure cooker …... page

Sledgehammer ….. page

Shrooms and work ….. page


How I hit the road ?


A wee while after leaving the army ( R.E.M.E )while doing three
different driving jobs in Southampton I happened tae hear a programme
on radio 4 . It was about travellers at Stonehenge . What I heard
changed the course of my life . After work I headed over to the stones
and spent a few days with the travellers . When I got back tae
Southampton I simply packed in all the jobs got rid of all my stuff ,
mostly by simply giving it away , packed a rucksack and with my dog
headed out on the road hitching ….....

Not knowing where I was going I ended up at a motorway service station .

While tucking into some grub a bunch of the scruffiest people passed
my rucksack which Craig my wee dog was attached tae . After patting
him they came in .. just as I was about to sit down again after having
got up worried that this bunch were about tae rob me or pinch Craig .
A guy came over I later found out his name was Mark. ( he became a
good friend ) he simply said " is that your dog , mate" .. after
sitting chatting a while and finding oot he was having trouble with
his bus , which I offered tae help with .. I now find myself still on
the road over 25 years later , STILL LIVING THE SIMPLE LIFE …..


Devils Ditch



The smoke from the log fire drifted lazily up the lane . The Oaks
leaves I was resting against playing with it before allowing it tae
head skywards..

As far as the eye could see vehicles of every description were parked
nose to tail . Over the last week people had began arriving from all
over the country, till now the lane and surrounding ones all began to

In the last rays from a perfect summers day , dogs barked and ganged
together to patrol up and doon the track ..

At the many sites I have been on , I have always loved nothing more
than to just sit and watch the dogs and their daily life unfold ..

The pecking order quickly asserted not with standing the occasional
challenge .. They would meet up early ,usually well before the site
and its people had even begun tae stir. They would approach each live
in vehicle . after a brief discussion always amazing tae watch much
sniffing ,yelping and always the odd roll aboot in the dirt , ONE
would be chosen tae enter best suited for that particular hoose...

Outside the excitement would grow , what would surface .some juicy
uncooked bit of meat ? , some home made bread ? ,always good with jam

with drooling reaching flowing point each dog in ever growing animated
conversation the excitement would reach the point that a full on
battle was surely aboot to erupt..

At which stage nearly always the chosen dog would emerge at the door..
its bounty proudly displayed . Like some returning warrior from far
off distant lands , the PRIZE would be placed at the feet of the
leader,, a loud howl quickly followed by other ever more excited ones
would fill the site …

Then onto the next chosen hoose....

The faces on the dogs though , when having chosen the wrong dog tae
approach the hoose and after the build up tae breakfast.. were then
faced with .. The warrior , standing in the doorway awaiting the
expected loud cheer from his comrades an old stinky sock held firm
between mightily clenched jaws ..

The look on their faces as one by one they turned there backs, and
headed doon the track heads held doon muttering ,, with the disgraced
warrior dog CUSTARD trailing ,still excited at his hard won PRIZE...
forever more know, as SOCK WARRIOR ..

Throughout the day smells from cooking , exhausts and the occasional
spliff would mingle with music tae fill your lungs and soul with life
on a site ..

around the fire old and new friends told tales of the last year or so
on the road .. As had happened over recent times quickly the chatter
moved tae tales of brutality both from locals and not tae mention the
police .

I listened as each tale was told and still it shocked me . Since
leaving the army and joining up with the travellers my eyes had been
opened to the hidden terror just below the surface of this so called
civilized country...

I had at that time been on the road only a few years and like everyone
around the fire I too had stories of police intimidation and outright
violence too the point now where as far as I was concerned it was
simply survival and anything was fair game …

From all the corners of the country we had been herded ever tighter
and tighter , never given the chance tae work or simply tae repair our
vehicles... Things had become more and more edgy till

now enough was enough... it WAS time to make a stand , after all, most
of us wanted nothing more than tae live a simple life ..




Sitting looking into the fire my thoughts drifted back tae the moors
just outside Oldham . We had been parked up less than a few hours when
out off the darkness a couple of vans pulled into the site their
lights set to main beam . Over the noise of the diesel engines I could
just make out raised voices . Broken bits of sentences drifted in and
LEARN " … looking oot the window of my bus I could just make oot my
mate Mark walking to the front of his and opening the front door …

" what is it Andy " no idea mate , but it don't sound good …

just then the vans began pulling forward splitting up to go either
side of my bus .. I could hear Mark shouting " ARE YOU OK MATE" when
over the next few moments it seemed madness had come too oor wee quiet
site in the middle of nowhere..

from rear doors what had to be at least 20 odd people got out the vans
and began hammering the side of my bus .. Then one by one the windows
came in ,glass showering the inside of my home . One of my dogs jazz
headed under the bed terrified while Craig joined me at my side .. I
reached for the old club I kept by the burner and headed oot the door
into the night shitting myself... all the while Craig barked louder
and louder at the bastards that have come tae "teach us a lesson"..

I could hear Mark shouting " Fuck you ,you Bastards " running

round the side of the bus I saw 5 people grab him and ram into into
the side of the bus before starting tae simply kick the shit oot him..
I got to him and started to pull them off him. From out of the
darkness more people arrived and as I looked over at Mark out of the
darkness something flashed in my eyes .. someone had battered the side
of head with a heavy duty torch , staggering I reached out tae grab
the bastard when I was jumped on and forced tae the floor ..

A boot hammered into my face ,quickly followed by several more,blood
instantly sprayed out into the darkness , no matter what I did I could
not stop the boots making contact . But i managed to grab a leg and
driving my teeth in as hard as I could ..

The beating went on for several minutes before and without any warning
it simply STOPPED..

Through the head lights one by one they quietly returned too the vans
and sliding the doors open all got in ..

without another word the vans reversed carefully out of the site ,
turning left and back onto the road was when I got my first look at
the side of the van the words POLICE in bold letters the last thing I
remember before coming too later...

A nudge in my side from both my dogs Craig and jazz brought me round I
began to sit up but the pain sent me ground ward but gently I was able
to pull myself up and sit against the bus wheel..

Blood still streaming doon my face I wiped it from my eyes and could
see both buses were smashed up almost all the windows put in and panel
after panel dented and ripped open.

I shouted for Mark but nothing , then a groan over to my left brought
Mark into focus through blood filled eyes.. "Shite if I look half as
bad as you mate I'M FUCKED....."

Over the next couple of hours we got ourselves together and started to
sort things out , the last thing both of us wanted was tae stay there
another night...


The flames from the fire stirred , sparks lifted and chased each
another high into the sky as someone tossed another log into the
middle . It felt so good to be among so many friends , ( and for the
first time in ages, SAFE ) even though we had all been through some
rough times , nothing gets a traveller doon for long and as the beer
flowed , music from Mikey and his guitar rang oot..

Taking hold of the spliff I lay back into the tree and relaxed..

Long into the night the talking , laughing etc carried on till before
you knew it the sun showed its face as it nudged over the horizon
announcing the start of a new day ..

Through slits that I was sure was once my eyes I could see another bus
pull in .. Slowly it made its way up the track , when off to the far
right I could see a police van then two then what seemed like the
whole of the Wiltshire police force follow it in to the edge of the
housing estate and stop . They moved into place to completely block
the road so no one could come or go ..

From all across the site everyone made their way to the entrance to
see what was going on …

police radios crackled louder and louder as they were given orders to
seal of ALL the entrances in and out of the site , a few people headed
off to check and sure enough all the tracks were now blocked ,
trapping us ….

Over the next few hours people dragged themselves from under buses ,
bushes etc and made their way to the fire …

As always on site a huge pan full of veg stew simmered , I reached
over grabbed a bowl full and a few slices of bread sat back doon
against the mighty oak..

I tell you ,there is no better tasting food than that made on an open fire ..

Unlike today we had no mobile phones , laptops or the like ,back then
the only way to find anything out was to make your way to a PAYPHONE …

During the day the police numbers grew and grew till they far outnumbered us ..

I could hear a woman's voice clearly across all the noise


she was standing face to face with the Police officer in charge , I
could see she was carrying 5 or 6 plastic carrier bags. Eventually the
police moved to the side and let the woman through..

With a huge smile and walking towards us all she simply said " CHEEKY
BUGGERS" looking closer at her her she was at the very least 80 years
old , putting the bags down she said to no one in particular " Please
help yourselves to this food and clothing , before anyone could say
anything she turned and headed back through the police lines...

This time the police quickly moved out her way ..

still muttering at them she disappeared into a wee house.

Throughout the day more and more people turned up to help ..
everything from food to clothes and wood was delivered, all the time
you could see the police get more and more annoyed that help was
forthcoming tae this band on mingers …

The mood on site though over the next couple of days began to shift
tae one of underlying worry at what was coming NEXT. But still we all
partied on ...

We had all spent that time trying to fix all the vehicles ( and being
an ex R.E.M.E mechanic my days were filled need deep in grease and
diesel) ready for the next journey wherever that may be ..

I could never get my head round the fact that people wishing to live
in caravans , buses trucks etc could stir up so much hatred .

Even now after more than 25 years living this way The hatred is NEVER
far below the surface and as always the most dangerous times are when
the country as a whole is in " TOUGH TIMES" human nature kicks in and
people look for someone anyone tae blame . NEVER ,NEVER THEMSELVES..

But the difference now is that I am able tae see the truth behind that smile..

Nowadays I live a simple life in my hame country of Scotland Not once
since coming hame have I had trouble from locals or indeed the police.
I now live a simple free life in the mountains of the highlands and at
last I feel I can live the life I want and not one dictated to me ….

Chatting with Pete and Mark we decided to take one of the landys oot
and get some much need supplies in .. As always as soon as word got
oot someone was off tae the shops . Lists and more lists appeared ..
people all talking at once get this get that , white bread noooo brown
.. so armed with the money and lists we fired the old wagon and headed
to the front of the police road block ..

As predicted we were waved to a stop and a copper headed over " WHERE
ARE YOU GOING" the shops and garage our reply..


but we need food and fuel , there are kids hungry on site and without
supplies we won't be able to move on..

after much arguing eventually his radio crackled into life .

He stood back and said " OK "

As I said earlier all respect for the Police and much of society had
gone and far as I and many others were concerned it was


This attitude lasted for a few years , today though I try to take
everyone as they come , but can't help but be a wee bit guarded as the
odd flash back happens from time to time … often triggered by a simple
smell or noise.. Although the all out attack on us has calmed . It
remains never far below the surface … the years after the main events
in this wee book often saw bricks hurled through windows by passing
cars .. the media it seems when faced with a dull day turn on a
minority to fill the airwaves , stirring up old hatreds .. the morons
that believe this use it as an excuse to attack....

my mind drifts to that village in the south of England that on
fireworks night not too long ago ,set light to a caravan with images
of traveller kids inside ..

(Why is it when a government or group from 'society' turn on a
minority they wonder WHY people come together . as always they use
this action by the people to step up their attempt to wipe away that
minority .. Society it seems can't or won't handle anyone living a
different life to the majority.. to me it is simple . they the
majority have been conned by the shine and bling of material things .
they live striving for more and more, never happy it seems with what
they have . the are urged to achieve more .. When the day comes that
those things so long the security behind their life's ,the very
meaning of their existence NO longer makes them happy , that is the
day they look out the window and as they see people living a simple
life TURN on them …..

love and light to all that dare to be DIFFERENT

living in constant fear it is only natural to come together simply to
survive the brutality from the oppressors .. )

Heading into Salisbury we were stunned by the sheer scale of the
police presence , mile upon mile of riot wagons were lined up on both
sides of the road and what seemed to be 1000's of riot police dressed
head tae toe in black with riot shields resting together stood idly
bye ….

Looking at them it was obvious they were gearing up for a fight .

In the next couple of days rumours spread across the site what was
coming and when the eviction would begin..

everyone that wasn't wasted began tae ready their vehicles for the
next journey.

Around the fire at the main entrance tae the site . More and more
people gathered including journalists from both the local ,national
and even tv crews from the BBC had turned up, all eager tae get the
story of this motley crowd..

always a good time as we played one of against the other , with
promises of amazing stories to be told . IF ONLY WE HAD SOME FAGS AND
BEER . Before long as if by magic crates of beer and packets of fags
appeared . This being oor cue tae head oot ..

As the day went on it got busier and busier , wanting a break from it
all , Mark, Pete and myself decided we would go on a scrap run ..

Scouring all the lanes leading off from the one we were on we came
across and old rusty abandoned car resting in a patch of nettles , a
quick check roon it found the engine still there wheels on all four
corners but NO tyres . With a chain attached we pulled the wreck from
its bed of undergrowth and headed too the entrance

Trails of nettles followed as we made our way down the track like some
mystical bride the car came to a halt . The three of us jumping out to
once again check oot oor bounty ,

Spliffs and cans of beer passed as we sat and decided how tae get it
tae the scrappy and our reward for the days work..

after thinking up various ways tae get it there and NOT sure is was
the BEER talking we decided tae simple TOW it there …

Mark and Pete in landy me in the CAR

Slowly the chain tightened till we began to move . Shouting I said STOP.

Jumping oot from the car ( which was made easier by the fact it had NO
drivers door . I ran tae the back and pulled all the streams of
branches , nettles etc from under and around the car

Sorry guys ( R.E.ME training ) had tae try and make it at least half
way road worthy..

reaching the blockade , one by one the coppers faces dropped at the
sight us us heading doon the track

I swear tae god you could hear their brains click in unison as
unspoken words boomed oot


with the air of excitement at the journey and oor wee bit of cash
reward too come beaming from us . WEE SMILED , at glum faces ..

The blockade remained firmly shut . More and more coppers rallied to
ensure THIS HEAP didn't make it out and onto the … ......PUBLIC


What, WHATS UP ,our response ..


BUT OFFICER " it's ok " our puzzled faces at his sheer ignorance of
road worthiness ,plain for all tae see..

This guy was KEEN......

Standing there immaculate .

( my army days of spit and bullshit flashed across my stoned wee brain)

again we asked "WHATS UP"


but officer " we need tae get some cash , and it is well safe we even


oh hey officer , THATS NOOO VERY NICE …

By this time his face was getting redder and redder almost tae as good
a shine as his boots , fearing that at any moment it would explode..

but officer WE KNOW OOR RIGHTS..



after what seemed oors , HE suddenly stopped ,becoming aware that ALL
his mates were struggling to contain their laughter.

An air of authority returned to him as he struggled tae regain control ..


From the ranks of officers , a single voice could just be heard ..


but the ranks held fast...

Pushing PETE oot the way,

He bent doon and got into the car , sitting on the drivers seat (well
an old milk crate ) he calmly said. OK, when I give the command, start
to pull out . When we have reached the optimum speed, I will give the
order to STOP. Come to an immediate STOP and we will see who is RIGHT
with regards the road worthiness of this vehicle...... a smirk etched
from cheek tae cheek..

With a knowing smile tae his mates he shouted

OK, Slowly pull off..

OH SHIT . Two wee words that sprung instantly tae mind as I looked at
MARK in the Landy.. A huge smile , as he leaned oot and shouted " OK


,STOP, STOP.....

Mark leaning out and shouting " EH" AS HE changed up gear ..

STOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP , nowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww


THEN and only then with the way a landy stops , smoke flowed from all
four wheels as from 30mph to 0mph Mark forced the old girl to a halt

Leaning oot the window again ,Mark shouted


The crowd shrank back as one ,knowing what was coming next.

Several people turned unable to watch as the car rammed into the landy
and came to a sudden STOP...


carried forward his helmet smashing into the windscreen before exiting
the car spinning and bouncing doon the road ..

He sat back , trying for all the world tae show he was in full control
, his eyes a dead give away though .

slowly he turned and placed his shiny boot on the ground then heaved
himself oot , only to stumble and fall earthwards .

By now the whole crowd were in uproar at the sight of him heading
towards Mark..

struggling tae get any word oot he simply said "FUCK, FUCK, YOU"
before disappearing into the ranks..

An officer came forward and said

" OK , you've had your fun now take the car back and sort it "

Dragging it back up the track we stopped at the fire and the three of
us made oor way tae the fire , falling down around it the next few
minutes no one able tae talk for laughing we sat back and dragged on
some hash ..

Eventually we got some tools together , ie sledgehammer hacksaw
anything and began tae dismantle the car and put it onto the back of
the landy , before long everyone was joining in ..

Through the front windscreen of my landy I could see the BBC film crew
set up and filming as the dismantle turned into some mad musical scene
from Oliver on acid...

Through the singing and chanting piece by piece was placed neatly onto
the rear of the landy in a little over and hour no trace of the car
existed only a tarpped up load betrayed the fact that a car had ever

To late now tae head tae the scrappy we returned tae the fire and a
night of music and mare tales unfolded …..


Tom nudged my side and went tae pass a bottle of THUNDRBIRD tae me ,
automatically I reached oot tae grab it .. BEFORE I coiled back saying

Flash backs tae Torquay and a few months back .rushed and swamped my
wee heed , drawing on the spliff I sat back and gazed skyward , I
could see myself walking doon the High street minding my ain

By now we were unable tae walk ten feet or drive withoot being stopped
every couple of miles the same questions over and over again , the
pressure building up all across the country as wherever we parked up
the same response from police ,locals and the council..

Where have you come from ?

Where are you going ?

How many of you are there ?

Name ?

Date of birth ?

Have you ever been in trouble with the police ? ( always thinking tae


etc etc

and indeed on several occasions Have you got any diseases ? Which I
had always replied, no idea mate , THE WIFE DEALS WAE THAT..

until I reached a point I had had enough and had made up several cards
with all the info on them , so I could simply hand them over..

But always the answers on the cards never seem tae please them .

What dae you mean .. FROM OVER THERE in answer too the first question
always followed by a drawn oot frown ..

was quickly followed by ANGER at the next answer .. OVER THERE..

then as always the hatred flowed at the response tae question 3 ..

was always followed by me getting rammed up against a building ,car
anything hard and solid at hand ..

On this occasion I was dragged into a wee alleyway and set apon , a
fairly good kicking ensued before being shoved oot onto the street and
telt tae "get tae fuck oot of Torquay we don't want the likes of you
here .."

When I asked if I could get my dinner back which was in my wee
pressure cooker I was told in no uncertain terms NO . That was why we
stopped you , when we seen you heading down the street with an
offensive weapon ..

after arguing a wee bit ( after all I was starving especially after
the wee brawl ) they walked over and rammed the wee pot into me and
telt me "NOW PISS OFF" if we find you in town in the next hour you
will be arrested …

As I walked off one of them found it funny to trip me up .. I headed
oot off toon back tae site …

On the way back tae site I was stopped twice but just briefly before
being told "DON'T COME BACK .."

Over the next few oors I sat with friends and quietly downed a full
bottle of THUNDERBIRD as well as some other stuff , nae idea what.

When the wee guy surfaced and simply stated for all tae hear "
BASTARDS" everyone aroon the fire stopped what they were doing and
looked at me . oh shite I thought quietly tae myself , I knew I was in
the crap as from deep inside the anger surfaced .. " BASTARDS , I'M

After fumbling roon tae find my keys I climbed into my landy and fired
it up. As always once the engine fired I was instantly sober , (a wee
trick I had been taught in the army)

Gunning it I headed into town and the POLICE STATION...

from behind I could hear my mates all shouting ANDY , ANDY for fuck
sake what are you up tooooo..

but over the engine noise slowly they melted into the background as I
bumped from oor dust track oot onto the main road into Torquay, the
time a wee bit after 2.30am a lovely star filled night with a full
moon my guide..

Arriving at the roundabout opposite the police station . I pulled up
facing the huge 2 storey grey rain soaked building after rolling a fag
and lighting it I placed my palm on the horn and began tae blast

For a couple of minutes NOTHING then one by one the windows filled
with faces .. I could see people running from one room tae another
lifting phones / all the while I watched tae see if any police patrol
cars began tae exit the station ..

The chaos inside building and window after window opened , people
shouting but by now I had simply switched off , readying myself for
the chase...

finally I got oot ,fed up waiting and began shouting



then tae the right the first car appeared quickly followed by 5 , 6
then I stopped counting and jumped into the landy and headed oot of

Sirens blaring headlights flashing they rounded the roundabout tae follow me .

On the way into town I had checked oot a wee hidden path off to the
left just past the TORQUAY sign and ideally it was on a bend..

so as I tanked it I checked my mirror and sure enough nae sight of the
idiots , so with a quick jerk and still looking back the landy
disappeared into the bushes and I simply switched off the engine..

for the rest of the night police cars came up and doon the main road
till a few hours later quiet was resumed . I lay dooooon and slept..

unaware I had been speaking the wee tale ootloud

TOM leant forward and said " FUCK ,ANDY , maybe its BEST you don't
have any THUNDERBIRD mate".. laughing he put the bottle tae his lips
and took a long hard drink..


As the night raced tae take hold from the East . Stars filled the sky
, time tae sit and enjoy the night . Pete came and sat next tae me "
you ok, mate " followed by a smile of a true friend he gave me a hug
and passed me a can .. The three of us sat chatting late into the
night …..

Looking oot across the track the sheer amount of colour from the many
clothes people wore brought a wee smile , truly some of the best
people I had met since leaving the army were chilling , smiling ,
dancing and simply enjoying LIFE..

Pete was a small guy with multi coloured dreads all the way tae his
knees with a huge orange hat flopped tae one side and a set of
dungarees patched till not a single space of the original material
could be seen , Over a short time he had become a close friend , one I
knew I could truly trust ..

Pete leant over and said " I've just bumped into Karl from the
Doncaster site " he'll be over later ..

Rolling a spliff I listened as Pete talked about the times spent on
the outskirts of Donny...


Like so many sites it had been filled with fun and a time in the easy
days of late summer a feeling of harmony with all around , the thing I
had searched for for many years ..

But as with many sites WEEKEND WARRIORS had arrived local people keen
tae visit site and become travellers for the few days away from the
NORM. but the thing was with them they didn't care after all come
Monday they would be off back tae their life .

The site changed quickly over the coming weeks, normally I would have
headed off but I had tae get my bus at the time through an M.O.T …

Locals from Doncaster had taken tae coming up driving fast around the
site and no amount of talking trying tae get them tae take care as we
had kids and animals on site helped , fuelled by drink and drugs and
the lack of respect they simply carried on arriving and causing more
and more chaos ..

A few days of quiet was broken late one night as 5 cars arrived ,
driving fast through site which was nestled in a beautiful copse .
Well awy from town. The track ran in a circle from the one and only
entrance all oor vehicles parked on the ootside of the circle..

Sitting at the entrance engines revving , they seemed to be egging
each another on till , one headed at speed in and around the site . I
watched as the passenger windows on all sides opened and from them
what I guessed was bricks flew oot and smashed into the side of the
vehicles , windows once again breaking into a million wee diamonds
showered all inside ..

The one noise above all that rang out loudest and seemed tae hush all
else was the screams from the many kids on site.

Instead of stopping the nutters in their cars. this seemed to only
encourage them tae follow suit and drive through site , all the time
laughing jeering and hurling abuse as missile after missile struck

as quickly as it had happened , the quiet of the woods returned and
over the next few days they would arrive at various times day and
night ..we were all on edge but eventually normality returned and we
all settled intae the simple life of a traveller..

apart from the occasional car turning up the violence against us had stopped.

I got my bus M.O.T'd and was due tae head oot onto the road the next
day. perhaps south with a few mates..

as a going away party took hold music filled the copse home made fruit
wine was brought out from under beds etc food arrived and we partied
late into the night , future planned meets etc were arranged , slowly
during the night one by one people headed oot tae their beds

Eventually I had had enough and staggering from the door shouted …...

Tripping off the step I laughed and spun tae my right , AT THE GATE a
car sat headlights on main beam and engine revving . I shouted " OCH

I picked up the nearest thing tae hurl at them , I stood back a bit
staggering intae the bus and lobbed what turned oot tae be a bit of
wood . it left my hand travelled a good foot before landing in the
dirt .. Muttering out loud " what an idiot",

still the car stood still …

Turning my back tae the car I headed tae my bus and my pit , laughing
to myself at some off the nights events . Just as I began to open my
door I could here the car pull into the site withoot thinking I again
grabbed the nearest thing tae hand and lobbed it shouting

" Come on then , you bastard"

I watched what happened tae be my sledgehammer soar through the sky .
Thinking shit that would have made my trainer back in the army proud..
further and further it flew till ..


It had hit the passenger side window and continued inside glass flew
everywhere , The car still with headlights on full stopped and was
slammed into reverse before heading out off site and disappearing doon
the road..

The last thing I remember shouting was he mate youve got my bloody
hammer before shrugging and heading off tae bed , glad that at least
that night we wouldn't be woke by idiots causing chaos on site.

BANG, BANG, BANG ,BANG my early morning alarm call had arrived ..

I opened the door tae find at least 30 coppers all milling roon my bus
.. The guy with his cap pulled down to only just reveal his eyes ( I
have come across many like him people that had failed to get into the
army that had then turned too become coppers , security and all but
all made me smile as their failure shinned through)

Standing at the door long johns almost pulled up nae top eyes
struggling tae adjust tae the early morning sunshine head thumping
from the wine and smoke from the previous nights fun..

He looked me up and down and without saying a word I could hear his
thoughts boom


from tightly closed moving lips he asked


Struggling tae focus I simply shrugged .. NO..

again he asked , "we have information that it was you.... the driver
of the car has reported that you had thrown a sledgehammer which had
smashed his window before coming to a rest on his drivers seat.."

my eyes with a rub of my hand finally opening fully , my brain at last
starting tae wake ..

OCH you mean him … AYE that was ME .. before I could explain I was
dragged tae the floor and handcuffed before being taken tae the police

Once again I was in a cell......

Sitting in that cell , the door having just been slammed shut . as
always the KEYS turned and withdrawn before foot steps would disappear
down echo filled corridors

my mind raced at the times spent in such a place … the complete
isolation ….....

But once again my time in the army would return ,lessons learnt back
then ,that would hold me in good stead for the rest of my life.. Like
time spent in Colchester army prison a prison with nae walls , one
where we were forced tae double march from the moment your feet hit
the marble floor in the morning till the time you could finally lay
your head on THAT pillow.. the door opened and I was lead up into the court room .

My shyness pushed tae the side , I stood tall in my minging unlaced
boots, beard dangled multi coloured tae my torn shirt, pride in the
front , I answered my name and pleaded innocent …

The magistrate listened tae my story of fear the constant harassment
etc on our site … Nodding understanding and saying it was terrible in
this day and age anyone should have to go through that .simply for
being different and wanting to live in an old truck and to live a
simple life..


"Take him away "...



In the morning I woke tae smoke drifting from dying fires filling the
track in the early morning sun .. kids already up and playing with the
dogs laughter mingled with music as slowly the site wakened tae
another day...

People were already tidying the site bottles , cans etc all bagged up..

From my pit once again contentment rushed and filled my wee heart ...

reaching for my baccy tin . I skinned up and let the sounds and smells
simply wash over me ..

…............. LOVE AND LIGHT..............

During the day more and more people started tae talk aboot setting off
. One by one the vehicles were fired up , those withoot diesel were
given some ,others were tow started … still others were chained up
ready to move …

Until by mid day the whole site was at the entrance , still blocked by
the lines of police vans and police ..

The convoy was on the move and NOTHING was going to stop us..

Behind I watched as stragglers ran ( well more staggered )from the
woods clutching their worldly goods and diving onto the nearest

I was third in line my landy and caravan ticking over nice, in front

was Dylan and his wee blim bus behind him Mark and his caravan ..

Leaning doon tae skin up .Mark turned up " CHECK THAT OOT " LAUGHING

I looked but couldn't see anything then slowly a pair of yellow hand
painted para boots took shape …

It had to be Gordon

Lifting the bush back sure enough it was , snoring louder than any
sound I had heard on a rifle range . We looked at each another and
laughed together saying "WHAT A STAIGHT"

still clutching a half drunk can of special brew with the remains of a
late supper scrounged dried at the side of his mouth and the rest
dotted across his torn shirt..

to the right a pool of spew and looking doon it was obvious he hadn't
bothered tae get up for a pish , steam rising from soaked trousers
into the day.. and a wee bit of pooh making its escape

The stink unbearable but as always the hugest of GRINS on his face ..


Both together we said " he's noo coming in with me " looking around we
instantly knew what to do …

The last knot tied . the strap pulled tae check for tension one final
wee pat ,we headed back to get ready tae pull oot..

A smile passed between mark and myself as on the front of his landy
strapped to the spare wheel on the bonnet GORDON snored on, still
clutching the can of brew STILL that SMILE ….

( you got to look after your own)

In the next oor or so the smoke from all the vehicles blue, grey but
mostly black filled the lane . till like some mist from the ocean one
by one the vehicles disappeared .. By now the POLICE had been on full
alert for hours , you could see different ones dashing aboot tae get
orders aboot how tae cope...

As Dylan nudged forward the lines of coppers simply parted and we
headed oot onto the road BUT where ,who knew.. talk of heading tae
Stonehenge had been laughed down , maybe the coast

Driving through that estate it was obvious many police forces from
across the country had been drafted in tae deal with us

Thatcher down , they were and had been doing everything in their power
tae drive us from the road...

( The more you imprison us the more FREE we become)

As we pulled onto the main road the way to the left was blocked and
for the next couple of miles every road to the right and left was
blocked by more and more coppers . It was obvious WILTSHIRE police
force were trying tae get us oot of their area at any cost...

We slowly moved down the road at a little over 10mph ,up ahead I could
see Dylan pulling into the garage so one by one we followed him in
till the line of vehicles behind stretched back hundreds and hundreds
of yards .. The police were already in the garage and they were saying
" don't bother paying for the fuel just get some and get back on the
road ..

Several oors passed till everyone had enough fuel and coming together
we began to head oot..

By now the roads were lined with locals all standing staring unsure at
what they were witnessing

as always the smiles were mixed with ABUSE …...

from behind a tree I watched as a young guy stood smiling in his right
hand a stone , he hurled it the words " GET A JOB, YOU DIRTY BASTARDS"
echoed around the convoy …


Laughing my mind drifted tae a few months back when we had went tae
get a JOB , the plan had been to head over to BURY ST EDMONDS and the
sugar beat harvest ...

But on the way and eager tae earn a few bob ,we had been stopped from
entering the county at that time we were about 20 strong ,various
vehicles . We had been forced into a long layby and it had been sealed
at both ends ..

The usual police checks and questions followed , by late evening they
had finished with us and pulled back . We had been told we had to go
back the way we had come , but explaining we needed time to do some
repairs , THEY agreed to 2 days .

With just a single police car at either end we settled doon tae dinner
and a few drinks and tae decide where we should head to next...

Chloe came running doon from the field excitedly she climbed the fence
and came into the bus " YOU HAVE TO COME AND SEE THIS"

without explaining what she had found we headed oot across the field..
Past three huge oaks we made our way doon a track to a huge meadow ..
"THERE , THERE Chloe giggled " unsure what I was meant to be looking
at , I asked Danny "what is it mate ?"

Shrooms mate shrooms thousands , Magic mushrooms as far as you could see...

I had seen various people on sites with them but had never thought
anything of it..

Danny explained they are a magic high mate, everyone got doon on their
knees and began picking ..

Within a couple of hours we were all back in the bus , everywhere the
wee mushrooms where strung up tae dry... But on the burner a huge pot
boiled gently stuffed full to the brim with them . A cup was dipped in
and passed around one by one everyone took a slug and past the cup

When it arrived at me , I turned it doon , No mate it's cool I don't want any …

Go On ANDY , you will love it

Taking the cup I took a wee sip , wow what a stink but putting the cup
to mouth the second drink slipped down with a wonderful taste ,another
sip and I passed the cup on …

What the hell was all the fuss about my thought tae myself as minute
after minute nothing …

Just when I decided at least it was a wee brew tae warm the cockles in
the future ..

AND BEYOND .. HOLY crap .. WOW....


round the next bend the site that greeted us all was just incredible.

Coming into view was a roundabout completely encircled by riot vans ..
thousands of officers stood rigid.

Dylan pulled out onto it . apart from one exit which led east and away
from Wiltshire we had no choice in which route tae take.

From Dylan's bus a cloud of black smoke as he changed down gear all
the officers pointed at the exit to take but he swerved and carried on
round the roundabout the officers leaping out the way he pushed on
,quickly followed by Mark then myself and the remaining convoy...

like a human tsunami the police surged forward and began hammering at
the lead bus , batons extended they then as one began smashing the
windows , the noise unlike anything I had heard , the sheer scale at
what we were enveloped in simply would not register with my half
drunken drugged mind ….

The faces the most shocking the pure hatred etched on them as each
strike delivered with more and more venom .. Amid that though you
could see smiles ,some of the bastards were actually enjoying this .

( later we would find out many coppers had bought new cars , put down
huge deposits on houses etc all on the back of the overtime they
received during the time to try and force us all off the road)

They swarmed us like some hive that had found a huge source of HONEY .
Vehicle after vehicle was encircled before being subjected to a
terrifying attack after attack..

Leaning out the landy window tae check what was happening tae the rear
I saw a flash of something and was just able to pull back and close
the window when a baton ripped through it sending glass once again
across both seats the officer stood less than a foot away ( my mind
flashed tae all the zombie films over the years I had watched and
laughed at , it was the faces united in one hatred that sent a shudder
doon my spine)

The copper carried on moving the baton from side tae side up and down
the window frame . LIKE Jamie Oliver ON CRACK , MAKING A WEE CAKE , HE
STIRRED that baton

His helmet black the visor down ,no eyes only my own reflection , was
forced through the gap




as he struck out hitting the side of my face , Craig my wee dug leapt
over me balancing somehow on the steering wheel as the copper went tae
strike oot again sunk his teeth into the black clothed riot arm .
Through the reflective glass I could now just make out his eyes .. His
mouth open as a scream of pain echoed inside the helmet ..

behind him one of his mates seeing what was happening pulled him back
and out of the way .

Then 5 of them leapt at my door tae force it open ..


I hit the accelerator the landy spluttered ( please noooo not now)
before it leapt forward . I caught up the ten yards tae Mark and his
landy and caravan having no choice but to stop again. Instantly I was
inside that raging cloud of black..

Up front I could see Dylan was stopped at an exit ( A3003 Stonehenge )
seemed to shine out amid all this violence .. he was looking back and
we caught sight of each another then Mark looked over .. without any
words ..


The exit was blocked by transit vans and cars nose tae tail across the
entire road ..

Dylan shouted oot something ,then that old bus seemed tae change shape
the old diesel engine roared as the throttle was floored again a roar
before the rear wheels juddered under the strain , gathering up speed
, police leaping oot the way .


as each of us made oor way through the blockade .. the noise got
louder and louder in a desperate attempt tae stop us the police hurled
everything they could at us ..

the sound of more broken windows as baton strike after baton strike landed ,

heading down the dual carriageway at that time only one side of the
A3003 was open .the other still under construction , was again filled
for mile after mile nose tae tail riot wagons ..

Dylan by this time was well doon the road with a number of vans in
chase .. Then the whole scene seemed to lift up a gear as I watched
from the right a van full of coppers run full force into the side of
the bus …. aiming directly at the drivers door

The impact clearly audible above all else going on . The bus groaned
under the impact swinging left before it turned violently tae the
right . still it ran on, engine screaming , across the temporary
divide separating the dual carriageway the bus lunged. front wheels
leaving the ground before landing on the partly finished surface ,
with a squeal from the tyres Dylan regained control and headed WEST at
speed.. the damaged tae the side of the bus obvious and my only
thought " shit mate you were well lucky"

(The anger inside at what these bastards thought was ok tae do and get
away with , not only now but over the last couple of years boiled up
and exploded)

by now the riot wagon its front windscreen smashed and front bonnet
crumpled was joined by 4 others all with coppers hanging out of every
window batons drawn … they hunted Dylan doon..

I swung the landy tae the right and rammed one then another of the
bastards before coming back tae face the front in an attempt tae catch
up with Mark ..

Through the dust kicked up from all what was going on across the other
side of the carriageway . I watched in horror as Marks caravan snaked
first this way then that , becoming more and more angry in its
struggle tae stay on the road , Just as I thought FUCK its going over
he regained control and headed up the banking on the left , for the
next 100 yards he battered on ,then withoot warning steered tae the
right and lunged across both lanes and the divide to join up behind
Dylan , smoke from the engine streaming out dust kicked high into the
sky ..

But then the sight that still tae this day makes me laugh

Through the occasional gap in smoke from Marks landy ...

Gordon still strapped to the spare wheel on the bonnet had come round
, shite I had forgot all about him.. He disappeared from view
encircled by smoke and riot vans ...

dropping gears I gunned it , just then a favourite track began tae
play I stretched tae turn the volume up tae full

ROY HARPER and I HATE THE WHITE MAN boomed oot as I raced tae catch up
… drawing on the last dregs of a can and spliff I smiled ….


before I caught them up ,both had rejoined the road on my side ,
together we headed west and into the slowly setting sun .

The police vans struggling to overtake as the convoy came together
nothing was going tae stop us reaching the stones ..

pulling up alongside Mark the view as we topped the hill .. STONEHENGE
in all its glory bathed in sun seeming to call tae us . A smile
flashed between the three of us and we pulled on faster tae reach our

Slipping back in behind Mark and feeling incredible at what we had
just achieved I looked out the window

in the distance a red double decker had stopped and was in the process
of doing a three point turn . This meant that the police had the
chance to pull in front and blockade the road . As the bus stopped
completely ,the words " IN JESUS WE TRUST" was visible .. the police
had succeeded in cutting us off we were now down tae 15 vehicles and I
watched as the distance between us grew and grew . Looking tae the
front we neared the turn off for the stones ..

Again a huge amount of vans blocked the exit , Dylan slowed unsure
what tae dae pulled his bus up 100 yards from the line of coppers
before slowly heading down the road we all looked across at the stones


At the stones hundreds of tourists wandering around seemed oblivious
at what was happening carried on with their tours ….

still we slowly passed tae the South of the stones , the road ahead
clear we began tae speed up and away from this madness.

Then withoot warning Dylan's bus skidded tae a halt quickly followed
by the remaining convoy by now we were alone on the road the police
holding well back.. They had us trapped and KNEW it ….

For several seconds ,looks flashed up and down the convey everyone
leaning out .NO WORDS just a united look at what was tae happen nooo

Gears were engaged engines roared as once again the wee convoy headed
out . THEN

Like my army days on the parade square we turned as one (my old drill
sergeant would have been proud ..)

we inched closer tae the road edge gingerly pulled of the tarmac onto
the grass verge before again coming to a stop..

we were united like never before all the violence over the last couple
of years all the police intimidation all the hatred from much of the
public had brought us tae this point..

all 15 vehicles strained like highly strung racehorses at a summer
meet... As one we headed at speed tae the fence in front . Now the
only barrier between us and our GOAL...

( in unity we are strong)

The drainage ditch no obstacle we entered it before rising the other
side all 15 vehicles hitting the fence at the exact same time road
over it..

up the hill tae the stones we set off ,by now though the many vehicles
showing their various ages had began tae smoke noises from gearboxes
under stress was drowned out by sound from exhausts being ripped off
all along the fence. but still we pushed on the fence still in tact
was hooked up to all the bumpers

every couple of yards fence posts popped from the dry ground and
trailed beneath each vehicle the barb wire rapping round tyres dug in
deep .but still we ploughed on ..

along the line ,loud explosion's as rubber lost its battle with the
wee barbs ,tyres popped first one then another like some mid winter
firework display , the sound rang out..

As always music accompanied us on every journey this nae different
from any other …

eventually the fence was left behind ,snapping it had simply tailed
off and lay like some crushed far off castle defence crumpled and
useless . The attackers victorious cheered as the battle was one..

The colour from this motley crew racing up the hill. In front ,the
tourists stood glued tae the spot ,their faces a mixture of awe, fear
and blackness..

Screams from them tourists loud and clear " SAVE YOURSELF" for gods
sake "SAVE YOURSELF , THE CHILDREN THE CHILDREN ", names were hurled
in distant languages in an attempt to escape the hoards of scum coming
at them , cameras dropped pictures minutes before seemingly so
important NOW dismissed ,survival the name of the game..

Coming tae a halt .. we were feet from the stones . Leaping from the
landy I remember thinking ( bloody hell, that was a good bit off
parking line and after line oor battered vehicles had been parked
neatly )

Pete leapt at me " FUCKING HELL MATE , WHAT A TRIP" before passing me
a joint ..

in the distance many of the tourists had reached the safety of the car
park and stood staring back at us..

The cheering louder and louder rang out everyone rapped in hugs, the
music played on as we headed tae the stones ..

Over the next few minutes we took up oor seats and the beer flowed
cheering still ringing oot ..

An incredible feeling of unity and power swept through each and all that day .

NOTHING could beat us doon ..

rang oot across the stones for a minute or two I believed it and took
a long hard swig of whisky …

The sun now slowly edging oot the way for the coming night dipped
golden .through those rays travellers smiled and danced..

( one by one WE can change the world )

An unseen hand swept from stone tae stone .as it passed, voices were
silenced , quiet was the loudest sound ..seconds before noise

,now ,hush echoed oot from us all tae anyone THAT would listen

The quiet louder than any noise I have heard swayed this way then that ..

Below us in the distance and out of view a noise gathered louder
LOUDER and louder it grew

each of us flashed a quizling look, but nae answer at what we were
hearing came forward ..

STILL LOUDER THE NOISE GREW , not coming closer just rising in the
distance , more loud than the far off waterfalls of the Highlands

from us all ,quiet … nothing said ,we stood …

Then a flash back tae the film ZULU and I knew instantly what the sound was

DRUMS fucking hundreds of DRUMS , shite , I turned tae Mark DRUMS mate
, he looked at me , confused , I'm telling you ,that is drums …

Someone , I couldn't see who ran forward tae the edge of the hill.
Stopping suddenly as if hit by a mighty hammer turned on his heels and
ran back

the words at first not able tae surface just a strange sound a tremble
escaped his lips...

What is it ??? nothing, again the question WHAT IS IT ????

only when someone grabbed him and stared in his eyes did the words
finally escape



Someone shouted


but as the words travelled aroon the ancient stones

Already people had begun to flee , taking another wee sip of whisky I
watched along with Mark, Dylan and Pete as panic gripped .

The coppers at the front all the while began the climb , behind us
even more had entered the field.

These too covered head tae to toe in black .shields held oot visors
down , batons beating loudly they pushed past the remaining tourists
and site guards.

But still many of us stood firm ..

The coppers in front marched on at a quickening pace till all at once
they broke into a full gallop the noise rushing ahead ,was the last
straw for many .

As the first contact was made .. Truncheons flaying EVERYONE scattered ..

I began running back tae my landy .to my right I saw Mark reach his
and climb in shouting " COME ON MATE" but just as I reached the side
door someone from behind had dived on me the force pushing me till I
stumbled tae the ground , as I turned tae see who had caught me . .. .
The sound of tearing cloth as he pulled me upright.

Between his legs and gaining speed Craig one of my wee dugs was
heading straight for us , barking loudly his coat shinning in the late
sun he got within 10 feet before launching himself into the air

The face on the copper as Craig made contact with his arse instantly
turning crimson ..

A scream from that twisted face rolled on doon the hill, Craig had
sunk his teeth deeply into this bastard that was attacking his owner

.. swinging wildly the copper was forced tae release me and set off
across the field .Craig still firmly attached and now joined by Jazz
my other wee dug .Both collies and both with tireless energy . Jazz
had a firm grip ,teeth sunk deep into the coppers ankle ...

Getting to my feet , I turned and shouted the both of them to come

but as I legged it doon the steep hill ,neither would release the
copper .snarling and growling both clung on..

looking over at Mark who by now circling madly around the field in an
attempt to find a safe way out .. a smile instantly crossed my face ,
there and STILL tied doon was GORDON .. only now .he had freed up one
arm and from somewhere he had produced a can of brew and was simply
laughing his head of and drinking like it was an every day event..

Just as I got into full stride the feeling that I would somehow escape

In the air several police helicopters circled the field opposite the
stones , loud hallos barking orders

Hay grew tall almost ready for the harvest it waved violently in the
down draft from the spinning rotor blades ….

At first I struggled hard tae focus on what I was watching


Thinking it had to be a deer .

Only slowly did the reality at what I was watching hit me …...

In the field ,BLACK LUKE was running fast, diving doon only too
reappear ten to twelve feet away . Bobbing up into the air ( like a
highly strung skylark) to get a direction which way was safe for him
tae run in..

Running faster doon the hill .I tripped tae busy focusing on Luke but
quickly I was into my stride . Then from the left a helicopter dived
into view a copper hanging ootside the door . Shouting but drowned by
the noise of the blades the helicopter continued to stoop before I was
sure they would crash. just then its nose stopped and jerked high into
the air.

From the side door a copper leapt straight onto the back of Luke the
two of them disappearing from view into the long grass.

As the chopper hovered. the grass laid doon, forced back from the
rushing wind ,Luke and the flyer were embroiled in a fight ..

Every step I took now becoming harder and harder as a laugh that

had started deep in my belly worked its way up, till the force of it
stopped my legs from working properly . I had no choice but to stop ,
at once falling tae my knees in a full belly laugh ..

Slowly getting tae my feet I headed off in search of rescue . When
,behind me a woman pc shouted "HALT" turning quickly I came face to
face with her . Unable tae move any further from laughing.

I reached oot my arms for her tae handcuff me, and was led doon the
field tae the many waiting police vans …

Shouting my dogs

Which I could see, still had the copper firmly in their grasp.

only now, several of his mates were trying to set him free from the
agony... beating them .. only made them grip harder ..

On the way doon tae the van

I caught sight of Pete disappearing beneath a truck. on the opposite
side Merlin caught in the wire being arrested .

All across the field

… travellers were being handcuffed and led away...


The meat wagon pulled into the car park of the Police headquarters at Devizes..

After what seemed like an age the outside door was swung open then
each of the isolated cell doors was also swung angrily open ..

one by one we were led into the building through some long corridors.
from behind fake pine doors faces appeared tae check oot the hoards
descending on there once quiet building ..

turning right we were led into what I assumed was the gym . Tables and
chairs had been laid out in neat rows , each table with six chairs
again neatly pushed beneath.

Milling around in the centre of the room above was a balcony which ran
its full length , and from it hung even more police and civilian
workers all eager tae get a glimpse..

some walked in at their own pace ,others forced in almost tossed like
some highlander in the glens oot practising tossing the caber ..

quickly the room filled up...

Before entering the room we had all been forced tae take oor boots
off..... ( a decision they WOULD soon reverse)

as the pile of leather ,plastic and indeed rubber grew . The air in
the corridor quickly reminded me of the gas chambers in my army days

like a huge instant compost heap, the heat generated unbelievable

insects both crawling and flying buzzed and hassled the coppers

The order barked oot


soon the pile was cleared the last remaining pairs simply tossed
inside the room , the door firmly shut as the last of the prisoners
was led in...

The smell now contained in the room the officers breathed a much needed sigh..

the only problem, the ones stood gauping at us from the balcony faced
the combined stench as the smell from boots ,feet and indeed general
body odour mingled with baccy and hash headed skywards tae them …

Within minutes the neatly furnished room had been sorted. the tables
and chairs shifted tae the edge we all sat down in a circle , drink
and hash produced spliff after spliff handed oot and even from
somewhere music rang oot..


beside me ,I could hear this guy complaining loudly at anyone that
would care tae listen …..the words ringing oot



Pete saying tae him, chill oot man we won't be long, followed by the
question .. HOW LONG ???

Pete shrugging shouldn't be anything longer than a week or two, they
never hold us longer than that , just way too much trouble for them …

looking at Pete the guy's face dropped as he stood up and RAN to the
door shouting


( to this day I wonder if he ever got over meeting us )

from someone's pocket a set of cards appeared and instantly the game was on …



From the balcony which was now less populated a huge copper shuffled
from a side door , trailing a black board he set it up and began

"SHUT UP . SHUT UP now listen , one by one I want your names

A hush descended across the room until the old proverbial needle could
have been heard ..

we ALL looked up at him ..

from the corner of the room someone screamed


The room falling aboot we returned tae the PARTY

Sheepishly the officer retreated across to the door … for another half
oor we partied on ,then from the door in the sky , someone that looked
high up in the force made his way to take up the stage ..


WILL be coming in to hand out sandwiches and hot drinks

.. I don't want any trouble …

a signal from him and the door opened, in stepped 4 officers , trays
of sandwiches held oot on front one pushing a trolley with a large
steaming urn .

Dressed head tae toe in white thin boiler suits , hands gloved in
thick plastic gloves , hoods pulled up and over heads ,eyes visible
only through plastic glasses , mouths behind masks they approached the
first CUSTOMER.... ( reminding me of days spent in noddy suits against
the coming RUSSIAN nuclear/chemical attack )..

CHEESE OR HAM ???? the question directed tae SNAKE , with a frown, no
chicken MAN.... his response...

NO , sorry, only CHEESE OR HAM the polite response ..

go on the give me 8 ham then …is it BUTTER man ???

Sorry sir only one per customer the young officer replied .. lifting
the edge of one he said MARG I think...


A shocked look he shrugged and turned tae the next customer


Manic asked any broon bread mate ????

across the room PHYSCO boomed OOT , WAITER , WAITER

the next few minutes the poor sods just got more and more hassle
before turning on their heels and heading back the way they had
come..... Tea from the urn spilling as they did ,,

WAITER ,WAITER you've split something


all semblance tae politness nooo gone the officer returned tae the
blackboard , right you bunch of shitheads .


YOU , yes you at the door .. WHATS YOUR NAME ??

Jim instantly responding JOHN KING SIR .. the officer turning a smile
at his victory and retained control over the rabble wrote it doon ..

as in the army the names were chalked up in reverse and called oot to
check they had been written doon correctly ..

JOHN KING nooo written as


was shouted across the room at Jim , one or two people looked up from
the gambling or smoking and smiled , but the officers face firm ,
shouted you , yes you next to KING JOHN your name ???

MIX ARTHUR sir, i'm foreign sir

the chalk squeaked the name doon

again he turned and shouted the name to confirm it



Instantly everyone shouting aye MATE OVER HERE

The officer confused at the laughter simply ignored it and continued
to get the names doon …

FOR the next oor things just got dafter and dafter until finally
satisfied he had everyone doon he headed for the door... still
unsmiling …......


From the far window

SIR, SIR , I don't belong here SIR ,SIR I was only hitching ..

(shite I thought that poor sod was still here )

Later we were taken tae the cells some there others sent across the
county to various police stations …


The next morning we were herded onto some buses and after a few oors
wandering the county gathering everyone from the various police
stations we headed into Salisbury ..

Turning the corner into the square where the court room was situated
were thousands upon thousands of people gathered , all cheering louder
and louder as we approached .

The brakes on the bus squealing as we came to a stop..

Inside the bus the noise now matched the outside . A Sergeant got up
walked tae the front . at the top of his voice started tae shout for
quiet .. his next statement " if you don't behave you will all go back
to the cells .. simply brought louder and even more uncontrollable
laughter ..

A loud hissing as the door at the front slammed open ..

The noise now rushed in and seemed tae lift you from the seat ..

One by one we were led from the bus through the crowds to the large
oak doors , as each person was let in the door was slammed tightly
shut behind them ..

Eventually we were all inside the building before being led up some
wooden stairs and placed in separate cells

as the hours drifted passed slowly ,first the banging on the wooden
cells began ..

Sitting in that cell all I wanted was to get back to site well away
from the town .. to simply be back with my dogs and walking free
again.. My thoughts turned tae my wee dogs and hoping they were both
ok . The last time I had seen them they were still attached to a
copper …

As the beating on the doors and walls reached a point that surely the
building would collapse under the torrent along the corridor a set of
keys could be heard . As the keys turned the door swung open then
along the corridor two sets of footfalls could be heard again the
sound of keys rattling as they were placed into the lock..

"OUT ,and stand against the wall "

this was repeated 4 more times then all the footfalls headed quietly
off doon the corridor before with a loud bang disappearing behind the

some time in the early afternoon my cell opened and together with Pete
and two other guys we were led up even more wooden steps before
popping oot in the court room .

With help from T.A.T ( Travellers aid trust ) who dealt with all the
court proceedings

I stood looking oot across the packed court room I could see many of
oor mates . Turning back tae answer my name within seconds we were led
down the stairs . Before being released till a further date we were
told we were banned from WILTSHIRE and had two hours tae get across
the border ..


Walking out from the rear door at the court room I was stunned that
still thousands were milling aboot . from the crowd a can of beer was
thrust intae my hand along with a 12inch spliff ..

Mark came over and hugged me then Pete joined in before log a huge
ball of hugs began walking doon the road and away from this madness
..I soon found out my dogs were save and well and back at the site
that had been set up just across the border...

arriving at the site by now pished and stoned I staggered oot the back
door and shouted CRAIG ,JAZZ within seconds my wee dugs were jumping
at me tails wurring so fast they were spun wildly aroon …

for the next few oors singing dancing and love flowed on that wee site …


Slowly opening my eyes I struggled tae focus every muscle and bone
screaming in agony .. on top of the previous nights smoking and
drinking the last few weeks were catching up.. the last thing I
remember , going off in search of food..

at first I thought I was back in a cell ,bars came into focus only to
reveal themselves as branches ..

with a smile I leant over and moved the branch .. looking out across
the site I thought I had landed in the middle of a war zone ,
countless people sprawled oot some on the tarmac some against wheels
all fast asleep and all covered with a blanket . ( we look after our
own, the magic faerie had been roon making sure all slept warm)

reaching for my baccy a wee nudge quickly followed by another both my
wee dugs were wide awake and staring at me , wow, It felt amazing tae
be back with them. For the next couple of minutes I lay there and
puffed away on my fag and enjoyed the cuddles of the wee ones....

Head thumping I crawled from under the bush wrapping the blanket up
and placing it on a bonnet of and old bus I headed doon the layby tae
find Mark..

A single boot sticking oot from the rear of an old RL and I knew Mark
had had a good night as well . Leaning doon only stopping for a second
tae get my balance as I was sure my heed was aboot tae fall off and
start tae wander doon the road.. I got doon one knee and shouted "
come on you old shite , things tae dae " was quickly followed by "
fuck off ANDY .. laughing I sat doon at the side of the boot and began
skinning up , passing it under the wagon "CHEERS MATE" echoed oot....

Crawling oot I said for fuck sake mate what happened .. standing there
Mark nae shirt , blood streaming doon his face but a smile as always..
fuck knows his response but what a night … a quick look at the bumper
and it was obvious he had whacked his heed in search of a bed ..

we eventually got it together tae heed off in search of a fire and a
much needed brew.....

over the next few oors everyone that had crashed the fence at
Stonehenge was gathered roon the fire ..

The coffee having done the trick talk soon got roon tae where all the
vehicles had been taken....

Someone said they had heard they had been impounded at a place aboot
15 miles away in WILTSHIRE.......

with the threat of the county ban ringing in oor ears we headed of in 3 vans.

after all these were oor HOMES...

Pulling up a mile or so from the pound . ( NOT WANTING TAE LOSE ANY
MORE VEHICLES TAE THE PIGS ) we all climbed oot and watched as the 3
vans headed back tae the safety of site ..

Quickly getting off the main road and into a field we made oor way
across to the rear of the pound ( memories of ESCAPE AND EVASION
,exercises from my army days flooded back .. I LOVED THEM )

half an oor later and slowly looking oot from woods we could see the
buses , landys etc all lined up .. ALL SMASHED TAE BITS , but still we
were determined tae get oor property back..

The pound was huge fenced off completely 40 tae 50 coppers milling
aboot .. at the one and only entrance a swing barrier was guarded by 4


we retreated tae the safety of the woods and sat doon tae decide what
tae dae...

eventually it was decided we would draw straws , some grass was picked
and cut tae equal lengths . One cut shorter was placed into the bundle
. the first hand reached oot tae find the owners fate..

one after one people reached oot to only fall back with a sigh .

Then Mark began pulling on the grass and for a second he just looked
unsure why the grass had come oot so easily the wee piece of grass
still firmly grasped between fingers was slowly released tae fall to
the leafy groon...

" BASTARD , I knew it "

we huddled together on the edge of the woods and watched as Mark made
his way doon tae the road and the pound making sure NOT to give away
the fact we were all hidden away eagerly awaiting the outcome...

we all watched as Mark made his way tae the barrier the four coppers
taking a minute or two tae see him approaching , expecting nae doubt
that only vehicles would approach them..

They each I turn turned and faced Mark , from where we were we could
not hear the conversation .. But eventually the barrier was lifted and
Mark strolled in followed by two of the coppers , he was led up a path
before disappearing into a portacabin …

half an hour then one hour quickly the time raced bye till we had been
sat in the woods 2 and half oors …


Standing up I said


getting tae my feet I headed oot and across the field tae the pound at
first by myself but quickly nearly everyone began tae follow , we all
headed tae find oot what had happened tae Mark..

As we approached every copper was now at the gate , two way radios
blearing away …

someone shouted


from the portacabin door Two coppers stepped oot followed by Mark then
another two behind him ..

Silence as we watched him being led tae a waiting van and pushed into
the rear the door slammed shut..

The dark blue van made its way to the gate coppers stepping tae the
side tae allow it through .. the barrier slowly lifted the van now at
speed, lights flashing it headed straight for us …

everyone still shouting dived oot the way as it headed oot the pound..

it passed and just above the noise I could hear and see Mark shouting
, at first struggling tae make sense what he was shouting , I quickly
got it ….


withoot a further word I turned and legged it as fast as my legs could
carry me ,my two wee dugs as always close at heel..

Everyone noo scattered in all directions .. running tae the end of the
track and just before I leapt head first over a hedge I saw Mark
pulling his head back in , ready tae face the music...


( later we would find oot Mark was up for criminal damage )

earlier in the year we had been parked up near a golf course .. over
the weeks we had been there we had had verbal abuse daily from those
diamond jumpered idiots .. always woken by car horns blaring early and
indeed late into the night ,occasionally things hurled from passing
cars ..

until one day we had had enough and making oor way tae the woods that
ran the length of one of the holes .. way before even the keenest of
the golfers were awake …

we set oor trap and waited for PAY BACK

The previous night we had ALL ensured we had had an extra bowl or two
of good healthy stew …

laying in the early mist it wasn't long before the first need for a
toilet dash occurred, each in turn we filled the holes on those
(immaculate greens before replacing the flags) with the remains from
the previous nights meal ..

revenge a dish best served COLD unless it's steaming

sure enough in the distance and through the early mist the sound as
wood hit ball .. 4 golfers making their way tae the greener than green
surface .. putters in hand they mentally gauged the distance tae the
wee hole . Before setting that wee ball on its way ..

with a smug look on his face and tugging at his highly pressed white
trousers . A flash of more white as glove was taken from hand and
reached into the wee hole and his ball...

what followed was shouts ringing oot all across the course


Scrambling over the hedge and praying for a soft landing on the other
side I could see instantly that my prayer was tae be answered BUT as I
headed for the groon one of my boots got caught in the branches and
came off . With a thud I crashed tae the groon before I had landed I
had been stung hundreds of times , a huge bed of nettles stretched oot
as far as I could see .. but quickly I huddled beneath them and
whistled quietly for my dugs ..

with no trouble at all they made their way through the hedge Craig in
the lead but Jazz excitedly following close behind..

putting a finger tae my lips I signalled for them them tae stay and
made my way carefully tae the hedge ,slowly moving some nettles oot
the way I could see the road and in the distance the pound..

From both directions and with sirens and blue lights flashing police
cars were racing tae the gate some stopping to capture people who were
desperately trying tae escape

I watched as one by one nearly everyone had been rounded up and led
into the pound ...

It was hard tae tell who had like me got away ..

from the right a car raced along before coming to an abrupt halt only
inches from where I lay .

Two coppers got oot slamming the doors they excitedly began chattering
one of them saying " I am sure I saw one of them dirty bastards head
into the woods along here "

a quick call on the radio and they were soon joined by another 4 cars
and a van ..

hearing the words " SPREAD OUT ALONG THE ROAD "

I turned and crawled back tae my dugs all the time getting stung but
by now I never felt a thing …

passing Craig and jazz i whispered "here" the three of us made oor way
oot the nettle patch and into some tall grass ten tae fifteen feet
away a woods ..

with the shouting behind getting louder I quickly made my way into the
safety of the woods , when I was sure I could not be see got to my
feet and began running as quick as I could ..

making my way tae the top of a small hill I could plainly see the
lines of coppers making their way into the field I had just crossed
beating back the nettles it wasn't long before they had reached the
edge of the woods..

Again spreading oot but not entering the woods they began tae

encircle me...

for the next fifteen minutes I dodged trees fallen branches and more
nettles all the while it got darker and darker as I headed deeper into
the woods ..

coming tae a stop at a moss covered rock I sat and made a fag. Shaking
with the excitement of the chase I sat for a few minutes till my
breathing eased , both my dogs sitting tails gently wagging I smiled
and we again headed off...

above I could here a helicopter hovering before making its way to the
lines of coppers at my rear ..

another few hundred yards and I could see daylight slowing doon I made
my way tae the edge of the woods .. again a wee whisper was enough tae
stop the dogs , getting tae my belly I gingerly crossed the last few
yards of tree cover …

A field of corn stretched oot as far as I could see in all directions

the road only just visible I watched as cars raced up and doon .. amid
the streams of police cars landrovers and even some TK ( both army
vehicles).. SHITE I thought as I rolled onto my back the bastards have
the army helping ….

Behind me the noise of what seemed tae be hundreds of twigs snapping
as the line made its way closer . I could feel the circle getting
closer and ever tighter ..

FUCK,FUCK how was I going tae get oot of this one ???

making my way as fast as I could along the edge of the woods being
careful tae stay in cover I came to rest next to a huge oak .. a quick
fag and seeing a crossroads in the distance that didn't seem tae be
blocked off I headed at full pace into the 5 foot tall corn .

The sharp leaves tugging and ripping at me as the three of us tried
tae make it tae safety ..

turning at the sound of the returning helicopter as it surfed the tree
line I watched as it begn tae make a beeline for me .. sure it had
spotted me I dived for cover , dugs snuggled in we lay NOT breathing
as the sound from the rotor blades got closer and closer . Just as I
was sure we had been spotted and was just aboot tae stand and give
myself up . The helicopter passed less than 50 fifty feet above BUT
instead of stopping it continued to where I had seen the troops

The noise and power from those spinning blades driving me tae the
ground the corn laid on its back the three of us now visible for all
tae see but quickly the corn returned to cover us as the helicopter
raced onwards..

getting tae my feet we again raced tae the crossroads

stumbling oot from the corn filed I tripped and landed hard onto the
road , breathing harder than I had ever done I managed to step back
tae the roadside edge...

I had no more energy left even the wee ones were laid flat oot tongues
flapping ..

Looking round I couldn't believe that NOT a single copper or

anyone from the army could be seen …

Just as I was thinking maybe I WILL make it..

2 landrovers pulled up. A captain and several soldiers piled oot and
surrounded me...


but still thinking how I could still get oot of this

The captain walked over tae me ..

" what is your name ? "


Through a quizzed look he asked me again " what is your name ? Where
have you come from ? Where are you going ? "


Again , he asked me the same questions ..

when I replied


he turned and said tae his mate " Shite we have a real nutter here "

get on the radio and get a full description of the guy the police are after …

a few minutes passed before he said " SORRY SIR THE RADIO IS NOT WORKING …

at this I pipped up


They all started tae talk over and round me but NOT at me before the
Officer said " we haven't got time to deal with this freak "

I watched as they raced of up the road to join up with the police

quickly I ran doon the road before disappearing into some more woods .
After an hour I popped oot onto a country track , spotting a blue
transit I waved it doon I couldn't believe it , it was Julie

She stopped got the side door opened and before I knew it the three of
us were under some blankets and heading back tae the site on the

Over the next few days we all decided tae head off in twos and threes
, back on the open road

Over the next few months we found oot the fate of many that had been
at Stonehenge and crashed the fence …



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A wee film about us on STVs the HOUR SHOW click on STV logo to see the film

A wee film about us on STVs the HOUR SHOW click on STV logo to see the film
Andy the Daft Hermit lives 45 minutes outside Inverness with his wife Mel in an old bus parked in a layby. This current home of theirs is the longest they have ever stayed in one spot. “I’ve been travelling now 25 years,” said Andy Lowe. “Mel’s been travelling 15. One of the reasons we’ve come and stayed up here is because of Mel’s health. I wanted to bring her to the mountains for fresh air and clean water and just a slower pace of life.” Mel has had breast cancer twice, skin cancer once, and for three years believed she had bone cancer after being wrongly diagnosed. Andy’s belief in the restorative powers of the north made them pack up ‘The Black Bus’ that they live in and cross the border into Scotland. New Highland home for hermit couple Andy and Mel “I think we both believe in trying to get to a more simple way of life,” said Andy, “but it’s strange for us because we are sort of hermits, or we like to live separate, but it’s not being anti-social… it’s just the way we are that allows us to be creative.” Andy first began travelling when he left the army. Fed up with bureaucracy he packed a rucksack and left for France and has been travelling ever since. By investing any money the couple have earned into solar panels and wind generators they now live a self-sustaining existence, without electric bills, and collect rain water “straight from Heaven”. “It’s not easy,” said Mel. “There might be time when there might not be enough facilities around, but you always find a way, you know?” Rather than rejecting technology, Andy blogs about his travels online and collaborates with artists from around the world via his ‘Scratchy Heid Film Studio’, which he runs from a static trailer next to the couple’s bus. He explained his philosophy: “My belief is that if you can go through life and you drop dead and you’ve got a balance there that slightly outweighs the good than the bad, you’ve done alright. “Yesterday, with what Mel’s been through with the cancer and all that, I had a woman on one of my sites there that thanked me for the writing, for the positive things, and to me that’s worth everything. You can keep your millions, we’re not interested. That is what we do.” To check out Andy’s artwork and video projects check out his website. MORE FROM THE NORTH

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By submitting your story you could win £2500, and we have lots of smaller cash awards up for grabs so don't forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to be the first to learn about them. You can also put yourself in the running to be our Best Ambassador by talking about us and tagging us @wernlights on Twitter or @wearenorthernlights on Facebook.

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This group has been set up to raise awareness of Scottish Independence in the run up to the 2014 referendum. We also welcome groups that support Palestine, Wales, Catalonia, The Basque and a United Ireland. We promote healthy debate on this group feel free to add your friends or anyone you think may be interested in the topics discussed here. We will also be setting up a youtube channel so anyone who can make decent videos message the admin. Twitter accounts and Blogspot pages will also be linked to this group so watch this space! Saor Alba!


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