Pylons row amid fears work could disturb ancient East Lothian battle site and Outlander location

A £40 million pylon upgrade project has sparked fears it could dig up an ancient soldiers’ burial site.

By Marie Sharp
Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 4:45 pm

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The Battle of Prestonpans Trust has called for details of SP Energy’s plans to carry out inspections and upgrades to 190 pylons from East Lothian to the Borders.

The 40-mile long overhead line runs from Cockenzie to Eccles along pylons constructed in the Sixties with several on the site of the Battle of Prestonpans, which featured in US smash hit series Outlander.

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Sam Heughan as Outlander's Jamie Fraser at the battle site

Now the Battle Trust has said anecdotal tales from the construction of the pylons suggested Jacobite artefacts including bones of soldiers who died in the battle, were dug up when they were installed.

The trust has called for more details of any groundwork taking place at the site.

Dr Gordon Prestoungrange, co-founder of the trust said: “If work is going to take place on the battlefield we’d like to be there at the time.”

The battle is being re-enacted this weekend.

SP Energy announced the project last week saying it is part of wider £2 billion investment plan to future-proof the transmission network across central and southern Scotland over the next five years.

A spokesperson for the energy company said at the time: “The route stretches across a significant part of the country and the upgrade will help develop increased resilience as we transport energy around the country, feeding the distribution network and the supply for many customers.

“Much of the work will take place in rural settings and our teams have been agreeing access arrangements with local landowners and communities to ensure it can be carried out safely and efficiently.”

The Battle of Prestonpans was a pivotal victory in the Jacobite rising in 1745 with Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army defeating the Government’s Redcoats.

It featured in Outlander when the series hero Jamie led the Jacobite troops through the fog to attack at dawn.

The trust will oversee the return of the re-enactment of the Battle of Prestonpans at the site this weekend after it was cancelled due to the pandemic last year.

The two-day event is being staged with some adjustments to allow for more social distancing with the soldiers’ camps given a new layout so visitors have more space to walk around.

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