Scots are up in arms at a threat by quarrying companies to desecrate the site of a historic battle.

Gillies Hill, which overlooks Bannockburn, where the famous victory of Robert the Bruce’s army over English forces took place, faces destruction by renewed quarrying.

The hill was instrumental in the battle: it sheltered servants and followers of the armed forces – gillies – who were mistaken for reinforcements when they emerged from cover, and the English army was routed in its confusion.

Now two companies say they will resume extracting stone from the mound and Stirling Council says it is powerless to stop them. A planning department spokesman said: “Consent to quarry the site was originally granted in 1982 and the new work could start within a couple of months.

“Both companies propose to reactivate the Murrayshall Quarry at Gillies Hill. Tarmac will begin work again in the next few months, and Hanson have advised they will start in the summer. A substantial part of the area will be quarried out.”

There has been sporadic quarrying on the hill, which also has an Iron Age fort, for 150 years, but locals are worried the renewal of activity will mean the site will virtually disappear.

A Tarmac spokesman said: "There is already a hole in the hill, and that hole will become larger.”