This is a work of fiction created for the Twilight 2000 Role Playing Game. Original material © Dave Ross

The Highland Coalition

The Scottish Highlands is a sparsely populated and mountainous region culturally distinct to the Lowlands. With the exception of some ineffective Soviet bombing raids on the RAF bases of Lossiemouth and Kinloss, the Highlands were rarely touched by the war, and following the collapse of central government local towns and communities began to cooperate with each other to ensure their survival in the face of anarchy and destruction that was becoming widespread in other parts of Scotland. The Highland Coalition was officially formed in early 1999 with its capital at Inverness to ensure cooperation on defence and trade between the various towns of the Highlands.

Other towns in the region include Fort William, Elgin, Aviemore, Nairn, Invergordon, Alness, and Grantown on Spey. A healthy barter trade operates between different towns and villages; the Caledonian Canal has remained open and navigable allowing goods and people to pass easily between the two towns, both of which have regular markets. Fort William also has electricity, supplied by the nearby Lochaber Hydroelectric plant, which was restored to operation in mid 1999. Throughout the highlands the surviving communities are concerned with sustaining themselves or working in industries such as farming, fishing, forestry and textiles that are traded with other communities.  Since 1997 infrastructure such as road, power and water supply has become seriously degraded. The Highland Coalition has conscripted work teams to rebuild degraded infrastructure across the Highlands, sometimes as a form of barter from one town or community to another.

Whilst each town in the Coalition retains its own leadership and independence, they collaborate on matters of defence; each town has a number of men under arms, numbering from several dozen men to several hundred. Collectively these forces are referred to as “The Northern Watch” (or sometimes simply “The Watch), and are responsible for maintaining law and order throughout the area controlled by the Coalition. The Watch has been greatly assisted by the small pocket of British Government forces in the region; centred on the RAF bases at Lossiemouth and Kinloss and the Army base at Fort George near Inverness, the soldiers and airmen actively patrol alongside the Watch, and have supplied the towns with limited numbers of small arms and ammunition to supplement the civilian weapons they had. The Watch also has a small maritime detachment which uses small boats to patrol the Caledonian Canal, a sixty mile long waterway that links Fort William with Inverness.

The Watch has proven itself to be a highly effective and well disciplined force, and has been a key factor in the Highlands remaining an area of relative stability in post nuclear Scotland. The last major clash in the region occurred in late 1999, when rumours reached Fort William that a large marauder group was approaching from the south. Reinforced by volunteers from other towns and with the assistance of a small detachment of British troops that included Royal Marines who had made their way to Lossiemouth from RM Condor near Arbroath, Fort William’s defenders established defensive positions in Glencoe, from where they comprehensively shattered the marauders. Those who were able fled to the south, where stories began to spread of what would become known as “The Second Glencoe Massacre.” From that point onwards, marauder groups started to avoid the areas guarded by the Northern Watch.

Representatives from the Republic of Scotland have attempted to persuade the Highlanders to join them on several occasions. So far the Coalition’s leadership has refused to countenance such a move – the majority do not seek to separate from the UK, they only wish to maintain law and order in their part of the country until an effective central Government can be reestablished. The strongest reaction came from the military, who made it clear that they considered Alex Stewart’s declaration of independence illegal (one senior RAF officer at Lossiemouth called it treason and said Stewart should be hanged). However the SNP does have a number of supporters throughout the Highlands who would welcome unification with the Republic of Scotland.

Whilst each community has its own leadership, a great deal of influence lies with the leaders of Inverness and Fort William, the largest towns in the Coalition. The leader of the Inverness City Council is Andrew McDonald, a former member of the council that was responsible for local Government before the War. His deputy is Nicola Cameron; although she conceals it well, Cameron would like to take McDonald’s place, and has been considering ways to overthrow him. To this end she has had several covert discussions with known SNP sympathizers in Inverness, however like everyone else in the Highlands, Cameron is acutely aware that the British forces at Fort George and the RAF bases on the Moray coast are easily the most powerful force in the region and were she attempt to take power and declare for the SNP it would surely put her in conflict with them.