Scotland politics

Holyrood 2016: The election race begins

Image copyright PA
Image caption All smiles - Ruth Davidson, Nicola Sturgeon, Kezia Dugdale and Willie Rennie together ahead of the election battle

It was one last selfie for the party leaders on the final day of the fourth Scottish Parliament, and then it was off to launch their campaigns. So, not one for being left behind, I pulled on my running shoes to keep pace with their bid to rally the voters.

13:00 - Holyrood dissolves and NUS rally

As the Scottish Parliament breaks up, MSPs gather for one last photograph before transforming into candidates, and their parties gear up to launch election platforms.

Outside Holyrood, a helpful National Union of Students rally provides an instant campaigning point.

14:00 - SNP campaign launch

I was there on time, but the start of the SNP's campaign launch slips from 13:30 to 14:00. However, compensation comes in the form of a cup of tea and a scone. But there are so many politicians present that only three seats are left for the media, at what is ostensibly a media event.

There's still no sign of Nicola Sturgeon at 14:10 when I give up and race off towards the next launch.

Image copyright Philip Sim

What I missed was Nicola Sturgeon cutting the ribbon on the SNP's "stronger for Scotland" campaign, stressing the importance of her winning her own mandate to be first minister.

Image copyright PA

14:15 - Conservative campaign launch

Narrowly avoiding being hit by several buses while diving out of a taxi on Princes Street, I arrive just in time to see Ruth Davidson introducing the Tory campaign amid a cloud of balloons.

And just in time to see a woman in a wheelchair heckling her.

Image copyright Philip Sim

15:15 - Labour campaign launch

Another trek across the capital rounded out a day of campaign launches, as Scottish Labour also broke out the balloons and mini flags - and another disgruntled woman in a wheelchair.

Image copyright Philip Sim

Six weeks of this? It's going to be brilliant.

Detailed coverage of the Holyrood campaign can be found on BBC Scotland's Politics index.

And on Twitter you can follow me following the politicians - @BBCPhilipSim.

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