Rally against Gillies Hill quarry threat

Image caption, Protesters fear the hill would be destroyed by more quarrying

Protesters have marched to save a historic Stirling battle site which they claim is threatened by quarrying.

Gillies Hill is reputedly where Robert the Bruce's followers took shelter during the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn before their charge on the enemy.

The Save Gillies Hill group was formed in 2007 to oppose the reactivation of quarrying on the site.

Stirling Council is due to decide on Thursday whether it will back legal action to help prevent quarrying.

The protest march started at Cambusbarron park. The procession, led by pipers, then re-enacted the "descent of the gillies".

Famously, when Robert the Bruce's followers emerged from the woods south of Stirling on 24 June 1314, the English army took fright, mistaking them for Scottish reinforcements.

There is also an Iron Age Fort at Gillies Hill which has Scheduled Ancient Monument status - a site designated as being of archaeological importance.

The area is also home to red squirrels, peregrine falcons and a Scots Pine which the Forestry Commission has designated as one of Scotland's top 100 heritage trees.

Permission for small scale quarrying was granted by the then Stirling District Council in 1982, but there has been little activity at the site for the past 13 years.

However, the Save Gillies Hill (SGH) group believes quarriers Hanson Aggregates and Tarmac may want to restart quarrying on the site on a much larger scale in the future.

Cambusbarron Community Council wants to go to court to force the companies to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment, which SGH said should have been done in 2002.

Stirling Council will decide whether to back the legal action at a full council meeting on 24 June, the 696th anniversary of the battle.

Peter Paterson, from SGH, said: "Gillies Hill is very precious to us for all sorts of reasons. If quarrying was allowed to resume in the future much of it would be destroyed."

No-one from Tarmac was available to comment, but in 2007 a spokesman said the company had no plans to restart quarrying at the site.

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