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Open invite to Cambusbarron quarry march

A further plea is being issued this week for as many people as possible to join Cambusbarron’s annual March of the Gillies against renewed quarrying in the area.

Cambusbarron Community Council chairman, Peter Paterson, said public opinion was a “powerful tool” in influencing those in power and a good turnout for the march this weekend was the best way of showing the strength of the opposition to renewed work on Gillies Hill.

In recent weeks, long-running campaign group Save Gillies Hill have spoken about how new work on the site by the village could be imminent with a new quarrying firm signing a lease agreement and a supposed suspension order perhaps not as strong as was previously thought.

Mr Paterson said the hill, which is reputed to have played a crucial role in the Scots victory at the Battle of Bannockburn, “has never been more threatened.”

And he added: “Last year, over 40,000 people visited the Hill. These were walkers, runners, climbers, bikers, nature-lovers and, of course, historians for the rising ground above the Borestone was where Bruce placed his cooks, grooms, smiths etc.

“Part of the legend is that, banging their pots and pans, they descended the hill on to the battlefield at a decisive moment, the English thinking them Scots reinforcements.

“Today Gillies Hill - Murrayshall Quarry apart - is a beautiful landscape with a network of paths that quarrying will largely turn into a no-go area.

“Quarrying will also obliterate the natural habitat of roe deer, foxes and badgers. Even more alarmingly it will destroy the homes of threatened species such as the red squirrels and pine martens which live there, as well as those of the peregrine falcons which inhabit the beautiful but doomed cliffs of Touchadam Craig - the site also of an Iron Age Hill Fort.

“Old Scots Pine, but also the comparatively new Californian redwood sequoia, planted 150 years ago when the Murrays of Polmaise built their castle on the Hill, and already towering above the other trees, will be the first to go.”

This year’s march takes place on Sunday, leaving from Cambusbarron Park at 1.45pm.

Timed to coincide with the 699th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn Peter said: “The world will look at Scotland in close-up next year, as we celebrate the 700th anniversary of the Battle.

“How stupid are we going to look if the world also sees us destroying part of the battlefield?”

Lyrics composed by John Henderson of Cambusbarron and Bannockburn on the 23rd of June, 2013 to J.R. Shannon's 1913 music for the chorus of the song, 'Dixie Lou'.

Our Gillies Hill is threatened
Once more at Murrayshall
With renewed blasting of what we value
As God's gift to one and all
Ne'er to be plundered and mutilated,
But kept for all to see
As braes from where, servants raced down to share in Bruce's victory.

We know those gillies' shock intervention
As glorious history,
But now their vantage point is a refuge
For wild flower and bird and tree
Ne'er to be damaged and decimated,
But kept a place to see
Where Nature's face, never suffers disgrace from quarry industry.

Return to John's Poetry Page


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