AN ONLINE campaign has been launched in a bid to prevent an historic hill that played a crucial role in the Battle of Bannockburn from being destroyed by quarrying.
An application for planning permission was submitted to Stirling Council last month by Paterson Quarries who want to resume mineral extraction at Gillies Hill’s Murrayshall Quarry, which was worked from the 1920s until 1996.
Rock will be extracted by blasting and drilling before being crushed and trucked from the site along the proposed access road on to Polmaise Road.
Now, a petition objecting to the plans has been launched, gaining over 1250 signatures in less than a week.
Gillies Hill is seen as historically significant, with it playing a vital role in the Battle of Bannockburn.
The Descent of the Gillies on to the field of Bannockburn is seen as a turning point in the 1314 battle, in which Robert the Bruce defeated the English King Edward II.
According to legend, as the tide of battle swung in the Bruce’s favour, the Sma’ Folk - servants, cart drivers and camp followers - who had been concealed behind a hill, swarmed down to finish the fight.
The English, thinking the mob to be another regiment of Scots infantry, were further demoralised and fled the battlefield in panic.
The mound which concealed these supposed reinforcements was named The Gillies’ Hill in honour of the event.
In recent years, it has been claimed the “secret reserve” so feared by the English soldiers was a body of Knights Templars.
There have been several previous attempts to quarry the hill, and the campaign group Save Gillies Hill has battled for many years to prevent it.
The group have organised a march which has been attended by hundreds of people year on year to raise awareness of their campaign.
Kenneth Cameron from Dunblane said: “In addition to its recreational utility for Stirling area residents, and its significance to local fauna and flora, Gillies Hill played a key role in the Battle of Bannockburn, when Robert Bruce’s camp followers, located with his baggage train on the hill, intervened decisively in that seminal engagement.
“It is difficult to believe that any temporary material gain from quarrying would offset the permanent loss of historical heritage and its potential for exploitation tourism.
“It seems frankly hard to believe that there is not suitable rock available in other local hills, without incurring the historical, environmental and recreational costs.”