The fate of the famous hill said to have concealed Robert the Bruce’s “secret reserve” at the Battle of Bannockburn now lies with the Scottish Government after council planners opposed plans to quarry the site, and asked for a public inquiry into the bid.
Gillies’ Hill in Cambusbarron, near Stirling, is said to have played a crucial role at the battle in 1314. It is also valued for its important historical features and the rare plants and animals there.
Campaigners fear the hill could disappear from the landscape under long-running plans to renew quarrying at the site, which in the past has supplied whinstone for road building.
Stirling Council’s planning panel has now formally opposed the controversial proposals, and asked for a public inquiry that will see its fate decided by the Scottish Government.
Paterson’s Quarries Ltd is seeking permission to continue quarrying, and create a new access road and public car park including restoration proposals at Murrayshall Quarry. Most of the site already has extant planning permission for quarrying until 2042 but it has not been operational since 1996.
The application has attracted 1,077 objections including from surrounding community councils and other local and national organisations.
Paterson’s have already appealed to the Scottish Government over the council’s non-determination on the application to date.
Panel chair Councillor Margaret Brisley said: “The argument has been taken out of our hands because we did not have sufficient information to determine it.”
The Gillies’ Hill in Cambusbarron, by Stirling, is said to have played a pivotal role at Bannockburn. Scottish servants, cart drivers and camp followers, seeing the tide turn in Bruce’s favour, charged from behind the hill and sparked panic in the English ranks, causing them to flee at the sight of “reinforcements”.
The people, armed just with pots and pans, became known as Bruce’s Sma’ Folk, and the landmark was named Gillies Hill in their honour.
The landscape is home to red deer, peregrine falcons, red squirrels and rare plants, including one of the UK’s oldest Scots pine, giant sequoia and orchids.