On the seats of the Extinction Rebellion bus, transporting activists to yesterday’s blockade of Ineos, there were letters of solidarity.

They thanked the campaigners and shared the proverb: “We do not inherit the planet from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

It was 4.30am on a dreich dark morning, when the Glasgow crew headed to the direct action against Ineos – Scotland’s worst climate polluter.

The night before, I joined a final virtual briefing, where a selection of talking heads spoke of pre-action nerves and the stark choice of wearing a nappy or peeing in a bucket during the planned 12-hour protest.

Extinction Rebellion activists block entrances to the Ineos refinery.

The precision of their planning was masterful, the teamwork flawless.

I found the “rebels”, as they are known, sincere in their motives and an eclectic bunch including a young postman, a middle-aged nurse, a care worker and students.

More than 40 of the climate change campaigners came from all corners of Scotland to draw attention to what they claim is an assault by Ineos on the planet.

As a movement, Extinction Rebellion has succeeded in creating headlines around climate change – but their detractors claim their disruptive actions have polarised the public, punishing commuters and the taxpayer.

Yesterday, the movement’s Scots wing were keen to avoid alienating the public and they had factored in a diversion route to allow the majority of traffic to flow unhindered.

The campaigners claim that though their action may cause a stink, it is nothing to the stench of the 3.2million tonnes of carbon dioxide pollution Ineos spews into the air.

The logistics of yesterday’s direct action felt daunting.

The equipment needed ranged from burner phones, hi-vis jackets and costumes to chains, locks and their iconic purple boat, Amal Gous.

Who was making banners? What colours and wording? Would it work if they changed the “O” in Ineos to a skull for bunting on the boat?

Volunteers included frontline “arrestables”, willing to go to jail if necessary. In their pockets they had
“bust cards” with legal advice and a lawyer’s number.

Extinction Rebellion activists block entrances to Ineos refinery.

Welfare officers, were on hand for sickness and emotional support and their task was to meet any arrestees on release with their favourite foods and a ride home.

There were legal observers, police liaison and de-escalation officers, key to a non-violent action group.

In line with the “buddy system”, I followed David Carruth, 29, a rural postman, an arrestable, whose role was to lock himself to the trailer under the Amal Gous.

He said he didn’t want to be arrested but felt that it was a necessary risk to push the action to its desired impact. He had already picked Maltesers and Irn-Bru for his release if the worst happened.

David grew up working on his grandparents’ small dairy farms in Renfrewshire, always outside climbing trees and seeking out ants under rocks.

He said: “When I am asked when I started caring about the planet, I question when other people stopped.”

In the last few years, he has visited conservation projects and worked with the Trees Foundation in the Amazon. The day before the action, he was tree planting in Renfrewshire.

He said: “In conservation projects, I saw species on the brink of extinction. In all good moral conscience when you know what’s happening, you have to act.

"We need drastic structural change in our society and maybe direct action will do the trick. We have to get out there and fix this. We have to try.

“We get that people are annoyed about the disruption actions cause and we are apologetic but people across the world are already suffering disruption with the destruction of our planet.”

David has 10 little cousins and a small god-daughter and says he fears for the precarious future our collective negligence is creating for them.

At 5.50am, we were given the signal to move, and we walked at pace towards the plant, in pairs to look inconspicuous, the adrenalin surging as we neared the its intimidating glow.

As we reached the targeted gate to the plant, dozens of campaigners emerged from corners of darkness and slipped effortlessly into their designated places.

The protest kicked off on Friday morning

In less than five minutes, two other main access points, were blockaded by boats on trailers and, in seconds, activists had locked themselves to each other, under the hull and on the deck.

The hull of the Amal Gous was emblazoned with the words: “The future you fear is already here.”

It took 15 minutes for six vans of police officers to arrive, by which point the plan had already been seemlessly executed.

Twelve people were arrested at the action after police drafted in specialist teams with cutting equipment to forcibly unlock campaigners from their two boats and makeshift oil barrels.

Annie Lane, 26, a student, from Glasgow was chained to the deck of the Amal Gous, the grey plume of the Ineos chimneys snaking into the skies behind her.

She condemned Ineos for importing fracked shale gas from America, while Scotland had banned fracking.

She said: “Given the widely assumed ‘ban’ on fracking in Scotland, for fracked gas which harms communities worldwide to still be processed here is outrageously hypocritical.

“We are running out of time, with the climate crisis affecting so many in the global south already.”

At a smaller inroad, Simon McLardie, a 52-year-old nurse, had travelled from the Highlands to join the action.

He was one of a group which had blocked a small access road, some had locked themselves inside makeshift oil while others were dressed as pirates, to protest the import by Ineos of shale gas on boats the company calls “Dragon Ships”.

Simon said governments, including in Scotland, have dragged their feet on tackling climate change and failed to embrace technology which could provide green jobs to replace employment in companies such as Ineos.

Activists set off at 4.30am and were joined by the Daily Record

As an NHS worker, he says climate change is a health disaster. Simon added: “People are already sick from pollution and people have died as a result, and unless we tackle climate change it will have an increasingly devastating impact on health.”

He cited scientific evidence that as climate change forces animal species into areas where humans are prevalent, further pandemics will evolve.

Yesterday, a spokesman for Ineos said the company had reduced its emissions by 37 per cent in the past decade.

He added: “Manufacturing products in the UK we rely on every day reduces carbon footprint from importing such items, ensures compliance with the strictest environmental and safety standards and delivers carbon savings through their applications, ‘light-weighting’ vehicles, components for wind turbines and so on.

“We do our utmost to do this as efficiently and environmentally responsibly as possible – because this is how we will remain in business.”