Save Gillies Hill Campaign (Overview)
(For an update of the campaign please visit the Campaign's Website)
An area of huge Scottish historical importance is to be destroyed.
Gillies Hill, the historic and environmentally vital landscape on the outskirts of Stirling, is in danger of being destroyed by quarrying.
According to oral tradition, and recorded in Barbour’s epic 14th century poem The Bruce, this Hill played a vital role in the Battle of Bannockburn, when Robert the Bruce stationed his sma’ folk, or camp followers – smiths, cooks, carters, many of them young boys - on the Hill for protection on the eve of the battle. If we accept another legend passed on to us down the centuries – that the Bruce came to the Chapel of Cambusbarron on Sunday 22 June to take sacrament - then it is clear that he knew this area. The present church in Cambusbarron, a descendant of that distant chapel, is called The Bruce Memorial.
At a crucial stage in the fighting, we are told that the servants, or ghillies in Gaelic, descended from the Hill waving their clothes like flags and banging their pots and pans, onto the Field of Bannockburn. The English army, already hard-pressed, thought them another fresh Scots army. Their morale broke, and the rout began.
Now, almost 700 years later, we face new invaders in the form of quarriers who intend to re-activate the quarry – they have permission until 2042 – although SGH considers that permission to be legally flawed, and is in the process of challenging it: watch this website for new developments.
Were the quarries to have their way, the Hill as we know it would be effectively destroyed. And this destruction would include something that goes even further back than Bruce or Bannockburn, the ancient Gillies Hill Fort, between 2000 and 3,000 years old, and described by Historic Scotland the government agency charged with cataloguing historic monuments, as ‘ a site of national importance’. Astonishingly, and disgracefully, it is also scheduled for destruction.
The work will also lead to a massive increase of heavy traffic through Cambusbarron, the village which lies at the foot of the hill, as well through neighbouring communities throughout the Stirling area: Kings Park, Torbrex and St Ninians are only the most obvious. Over 40 lorries a day are expected to thunder through the local communities, past several schools. The route the lorries will take is a road popular with children walking to school.
The re-activation of quarrying would also see the destruction of wildlife on the Gillies Hill, home to rare animal and plant species: badgers, red squirrels, peregrine falcons, ospreys, roe deer, orchids, ancient Scots pines and giant sequoia trees, would all be endangered It is also an area popular with walkers, joggers, cyclists, climbers, photographers, ornithologists, botanists, and many, many others.
If you want to preserve this unique landscape