ANOTHER fight is looming over the site of the Battle of Killiecrankie on July 27, 1689 – the first and bloodiest clash of the Jacobite wars which left more than 2000 soldiers dead.

The Soldiers of Killiecrankie, a local group that marks the battle through re-enactments on its annual anniversary and works with battlefield owner Urrard Estate to promote responsible access through guided walks and a marked path, has called for improvement work on the A9 to be rerouted to avoid the “destruction” of one of its most important parts.

Their call came after a Scottish Government-appointed Reporter walked through the battlefield, after which Transport Scotland marked out the ground that will be destroyed.

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Using the agency’s own markers, the Soldiers of Killiecrankie have created a video, which can be seen on YouTube, showing what they call the “full extent of the destruction”.

And they are asking people to write to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, pressing her to protect the battlefield where thousands of soldiers met their deaths.

James Rattray, who co-founded and chairs the group, told The National they were concerned that Transport Scotland’s proposals would destroy ground where hundreds of Jacobite clansmen and Scottish Government troops died.

He said they used two accounts of the battle from General Hugh McKay, the Scottish Government commander, and Cameron of Lochiel, the chief of Clan Cameron, which illustrate where their respective forces were position during the battle.

“He [McKay] survived and wrote in detail about the battle,” said Rattray. “He talks in detail of how he aligned his regiments on the battlefield. He tells us where his left wing was anchored. He tells us where Urrard House was in relation to his battle line. So, with two points on the battlefield, we know where the Government battle line was.

“General Hugh McKay tells us he issued orders to all his commanders to start firing at 100 paces so, knowing where his battle lines were, we can pace 100 paces from the battle line.

“This pretty accurately tells us where the many men died that day – 100 paces takes us to the current A9. Why would anyone want to build a carriageway over this ground?

“Cameron … tells us how he visited the ground the next day with his Highlanders and how shocked they were by the bodies left on the battlefield.”

Rattray, whose hillside home overlooks the battlefield, said he had been involved with the Killiecrankie site since the 1980s as a member of the White Cockade Jacobite re-enactment group. From 1993 they annually marked the battle by walking the route of the Jacobite army that day.

“My six times great grandfather fought here on the Jacobite side. My four times great grandfather fought on the Jacobite side at Culloden,” he said. “In deciding the route of the new A9 carriageway, I do not believe Transport Scotland have taken in to account the above two pieces of evidence left to us by General Hugh McKay. I do not believe anyone who cares about Jacobite and Scottish history, after watching this video, can be anything other than horrified, by the proposed destruction.”

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said they were aware of the sensitivities around what is an important battlefield.

They added: “Having published draft orders for the Killiecrankie to Glen Garry scheme in November 2017, we made a number of design refinements to reduce land take on the battlefield site following feedback from Historic Environment Scotland and the local community.

“We must observe our statutory obligations and therefore approached the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division to arrange a Public Local Inquiry which is now set for next January. As for all our road schemes, this is the appropriate forum for considering objections received but not withdrawn.”