"Because of the present crisis", a spokeperson for SGH said, "With two quarriers determined to destroy even more of the Hill from which the ghillies or camp-followers of 1314 made their dramatic intervention on the second critical day of fighting, we've had unprecedented support, not only from the Stirling area, but from all over Scotland. We've had messages from people concerned, of course, about the history, especially this year. But we've also had people expressing their anxiety about the red squirrels, pine martens, peregrines and, especially, the sequoia which dominate the Hill and which are visible from miles away: all will disappear if the quarriers get their way."
It will also be the case that the 30,000+ people whose visits to Gillies Hill every year have been electronically recorded, will lessen if quarrying recommences: not only will the history and wild-life which attracts visitors, be severely damaged, but runners, walkers and climbers will find the quarry-edge - and the roadway Patersons Quarriers are proposing to build across the Hill's landscape, emerging onto Polmaise Road for their 132 20-ton lorries per day - severely inhibiting them.
"And the lorries will emerge," said the SGH spokesperson, "Just where our Community Council is about to unveil, with Stirling Council, a panel just above the Borestone, explaining the Hill's Bannockburn connection. And then - probably doubling in number if Tillicoultry Quarries also get their way, they'll join the Motorway at Craigforth via the Torbrex part of Polmaise Road, then Kings Park - where hundreds of youngsters daily cross the road on their way to Stirling High or St Ninians Primary."
More positively, this year's March of the Gillies will, as usual, be led by our superb pipers under Stewart Marshall's expert guidance, and the Strathleven Artizans who dress in the kind of costumes worn by Bruce and co in 1314 (see photos). There will also be, thanks to an initiative by Graham Nash, the minister of the Bruce Memorial Church in Cambusbarron, a unique short service at 1pm that day on the site of Cambusbarron Chapel, down the Burnside, celebrating Robert the Bruce's visit there exactly 700 years earlier. He also drank from its Holy Well and later had water sprinkled from it onto the battlefield on the second, crucial day.
Then after the service, people will be able to meet at Cambusbarron Park for a 1.45 start to this year's vital March of the Gillies to the Borestone where the marchers will be addressed by our MP Ann McGuire, MSP Bruce Crawford, Leader of Stirling Council, Joanna Boyd, local novelist Craig Robertson, and then, our chief speaker, former MP and MSP Dennis Canavan.