Robert the Bruce’s Gillies Hill awarded conservation tag

Gillies Hill was of considerable strategic importance during the Battle of Bannockburn. Pic Ian Rutherford

Gillies Hill was of considerable strategic importance during the Battle of Bannockburn. Pic Ian Rutherford

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An historic hill which was of huge strategic importance during the 1314 battle of Bannockburn has been designated a conservation site.

The future of Gillies Hill at Cambusbarron just outside of Stirling looks to be secure following a decision by Stirling Council to designate it as the region’s first Local Nature Conservation Site (LNCS).

Gillies Hill at Cambusbarron has already suffered from extensive quarrying. Picture: by Jane Barlow

Gillies Hill at Cambusbarron has already suffered from extensive quarrying. Picture: by Jane Barlow

Councillors came to their decision on December 9th. The ruling officially came into force yesterday.

The LNCS designation follows a period of uncertainty for the historic hill after it had been threatened by moves to open quarries at the site for the first time in 20 years.

READ MORE: Fate of Robert the Bruce’s Gillies Hill to face public inquiry

Conservation campaigners have argued that, aside from historical value, the hill is of vital importance to the area’s wide variety of flora and fauna, and any moves to restart quarrying activity should be stopped dead in its tracks.

Stirling Council officers had been looking to designate Gillies Hill as a Local Nature Conservation Site (LNCS) or Local Nature Reserve (LNR) since 2015.

The name Gillies Hill derives from the time of the Battle of Bannockburn as this is where Robert the Bruce stationed his “Ghillies” before the battle. Ghillies is a Gaelic word which translates as lads or servants.

It is written that when the English forces spotted the Ghillies on the hill they mistook them for reinforcements of Bruce’s main army and fled from the battle.

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.

READ MORE: Face of Robert the Bruce reconstructed by scientists

Stirling Council’s Environment Convenor Cllr Danny Gibson said: “We are very supportive of the community’s wishes for the value of Gillies Hill, with its unique biodiversity and heritage, to be recognised.

“The survey work has identified that the area’s flora and fauna indicates that Gillies Hill may be designated as a Local Nature Reserve. I commend the commitment and passion of the local community in working to help identify the species present.”

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