A CAMPAIGN to prevent what protestors are calling the desecration of Killiecrankie battlefield has been launched with a video presentation of how the proposed route of the A9 will damage the historic site.

Protest group KilliecrAnkie1689 yesterday launched its video presentation on its website to explain how the planned route of the A9 will ruin some key features of the battle site.

Killiecrankie was the first battle fought during the Jacobite uprising of 1689-1691. It was a brief but very bloody battle in which more than 2,500 men lost their lives inside an hour, the vast majority of them from the Government army sent north to suppress the uprising.

The blood-soaked success of the Highland charge as they fought hand to hand with their opponents established a reputation for the Jacobite army as ferocious and unstoppable warriors.

It was to prove a costly victory, however, as Jacobite leader John Graham of Claverhouse, better known as Bonnie Dundee, was killed in the hour of victory and the uprising was left rudderless and eventually petered out.

Killiecrankie is recognised as a historic battlefield and there is an interpretation centre close by which features the story of the Soldier’s Leap in which a fleeing redcoat trooper evaded the Jacobites by jumping over the River Garry.

As part of the process of turning the entire length of the A9 into dual carriageway, Transport Scotland has finalised plans for the route from Killiecrankie to Glen Garry.

A statement from the campaigners said: “KilliecrAnkie1689 is alarmed about the adverse impact this will have on a mile stretch over the battlefield. The group opposes the current plan as it believes that the most sensitive part of the battlefield will be vandalised.”

The campaign group points out that the area of the officially designated battle site is large but the field where most men were slain is quite small.

“This is the area that will be covered by the widened road,” they stated. “KilliecrAnkie1689 opposes this section of the transport project on the grounds that it is reckless and crass.

“KilliecrAnkie1689 questions the government’s commitment to protecting and enhancing Scotland’s cultural heritage.

“KilliecrAnkie1689 is in favour of the project to upgrade the A9 in the interests of safety. But it wants the best route for the local community and for the historic battle site.”

Highland SNP Councillor Mike Williamson said: “Culturally and historically it is a huge asset to Perthshire and even at that I think it has been underplayed.

“Encroaching upon the battlefield in this fashion could harm the site and could damage any future possibility of building upon its tourism value.”

A spokesperson for Transport Scotland said: “As the existing A9 already runs through the site of the battlefield, any of the dual carriageway widening options, for example widening the existing road on its northbound side or widening the existing road on its southbound side, will have some impact on the battlefield.

“We have therefore carefully developed our plans to dual the route from Killiecrankie to Glen Garry, taking into account available research and specialist advice, including consultation with Historic Environment Scotland (HES).”