If you live in Scotland you are probably aware of the contentious proposal by electricity giant Scottish and Southern, known locally as Scottish Hydro Electric, to run a line of giant pylons down through the Highlands from Beauly, north of Inverness to Denny, south of Stirling. Communities all along the route are protesting vigorously against this proposal which they believe will not only be an appalling blight on the landscape but will also carry serious health risks to all who live and work close to it.
Whether or not you share these beliefs, MacRaes around the world will be horrified to learn that Scottish and Southern plans to run the pylons directly through the battlefield at Sheriffmuir where, in the battle of 1715, the MacRaes fell almost to a man and where many still lie. If this proposal goes ahead, massive holes some 50 metres square will be dug in our battlefield and filled with concrete to support the monster pylons. A network of service roads will be created to allow access for the heavy vehicles involved in the construction of the pylons and these will require yet more excavations and foundations. The 50 metre high pylons will dominate the landscape from every direction and the visual aspect of that peaceful and beautiful place will be destroyed.
But that pales when compared with the destruction of the integrity of the battlefield itself if bulldozers and mechanical excavators are allowed to tear up the ground. Scottish Hydro Electric has assured us that a metal detector survey will be conducted to identify and record information relating to the battlefield and that any ground breaking work will be monitored by a professional archaeologist. But many will struggle to understand why consideration is even being given to digging up the remains of brave men who have lain at peace for almost 300 years.
In England, significant battlefields are given protection but this is not the case in Scotland. Sheriffmuir was probably the most significant battle of the 1715 Rebellion and can be said to have truly changed the course of British history. More men fell at Sheriffmuir than did so at Culloden and many still lie on the site.
Clan MacRae believes that Sheriffmuir should be protected and preserved as a place where brave men died and history was made. And it needs to be protected now! If the pylons are allowed to run through the battlefield, it may be that in 50 years time a more enlightened executive will say that was a mistake and decide that they should be removed and the visual aspect of the site restored. But the field itself could never be restored. Once it has been dug up, it is destroyed for all time!
Pressure is mounting for a Public Enquiry to be held into the whole proposal. Around Sheriffmuir, many groups and individuals are appalled at what has been proposed and Clan MacRae has distributed, collected and delivered hundreds of letters of protest to the Scottish Executive. We have written to the leaders of every political party at Holyrood and, without exception, the response could be summarised as its not my concern. Well, it is our concern and it is clearly up to us to do something about it! If we do not let our politicians know our strength of feeling on this issue, our Battlefield will be desecrated and we will be as responsible as they will.
If you possibly can, join us and the other concerned groups at Sheriffmuir at 1pm on Saturday 1st April for a Protest Rally. If distance prevents you coming, email your support to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will forward your messages to the politicians. If you want to protect Sheriffmuir from desecration, then this is probably your last opportunity to do something about it!
If we do not fight for Sheriffmuir, nobody will!
for the Scottish & Southern web site page showing maps of the route. Scroll down to Maps and download Braco - Bridge of Allan
to see the proposed route across the battlefield and right past the monument.
For the latest on the pylon proposal, go to the Sheriffmuir Update page