An influential Holyrood committee will write to Historic Scotland over a campaign to protect a sacred site to the travelling community.
The origins of the Tinkers’ Heart, in a field overlooking Loch Fyne, are unclear, although it has been used a site for tinker ceremonies such as weddings and children’s blessings for several centuries.
Yesterday the Scottish Parliament public petitions committee heard a desperate plea to for help to preserve the heart-shaped arrangement of quartz stones, which has fallen into disrepair.
Jess Smith, a traveller, author and storyteller, said the site had been almost destroyed due to neglect and described it as “the death knell of an entire culture.
“It represents the future, a place to visit and say ‘we are part of this country and we can make a difference’. Let us remain proud of our ancestors, because they kept our dreams for equality alive,” she said.
Her appeal for Scottish Heritage to designate the site as an ancient monument was backed by Argyll and Bute MSP Mike Russell.
Mr Russell said: “It is about time that we recognised the contribution of the travelling people of Scotland to our nation. Both to recognise the historic contribution they made, but also to, in a sense, reconcile that contribution into the modern day.
“This is the only physical artefact that we can associate with the travelling people. In those circumstances it forms a unique contribution to our heritage, both tangible and intangible.”
Afterwards, committee convener David Stewart described Ms Smith’s evidence as “very moving.
“Jess clearly feels passionately about the preservation and restoration of the Tinker’s Heart,” the Highlands and Islands Labour MSP said.
“We will engage with the Scottish Government, Historic Scotland and a range of stakeholders as we carefully consider the philosophy and practical steps involved, alongside the potential the potential opportunities to develop tourism in the local area.”