DUMBARTON’S constituency MSP has renewed her calls for the Scottish Government to mark the 800th anniversary of the town becoming a Royal Burgh.

Earlier this year, the Reporter told how Jackie Baillie had written to the cabinet secretary for culture, Angus Robertson, on the matter – but had been snubbed.

She raised the issue with Mr Robertson again recently in the Scottish Parliament, but was told that the Rock of Ages event, held in the grounds of Dumbarton Castle in summer was themed on ‘Dumbarton 800’.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter: Jackie Baillie MSP questioned culture secretary, Angus RobertsonJackie Baillie MSP questioned culture secretary, Angus Robertson

Ms Baillie said: “Dumbarton has sadly been ignored by the Scottish Government, which has made absolutely no effort to commemorate this important milestone.

"The cabinet secretary merely refers to the Rock of Ages event, of which one day was cancelled due to weather, and provided little reference to the 800th anniversary.

“It is incredibly disappointing, and a slap in the face to the people of Dumbarton who deserve proper recognition during this special year.

“I am proud, however, that my Scottish Labour colleagues at West Dunbartonshire Council have arranged a programme of events to mark the 800th anniversary.

“I also look forward to hearing more from Historic Environment Scotland about the reopening of Dumbarton Castle during the community engagement meeting next month as it is imperative that the jewel in our crown can reopen as soon as possible.

"It is a vital part of our town’s heritage and an important tourist attraction which draws visitors into Dumbarton, helping boost our local economy.”

The town’s octocentenary was marked on July 8, 800 years since the foundation charter for the Royal Burgh of Dumbarton was sealed by Alexander II in Jedburgh.

West Dunbartonshire is recognising the occasion with 12 months of celebratory activities that will highlight Dumbarton’s rich history and heritage.

Plans include encouraging community participation, asking residents to submit photographs of their favourite places in the town to the council’s local history collection and the production of a video exploring the town’s story through the eyes of its young people.

Addressing Ms Baillie’s comments in parliament, Mr Robertson said: “The Scottish Government recognises the significance of the 800th anniversary of Dumbarton becoming a Royal Burgh.

"Being able to connect with local history is important for the health an wellbeing of Scotland’s communities as well as our national identity.

“I am pleased that this year’s Rock of Ages event, themed for Dumbarton 800, was such a successful part of the official celebrations.

"Historic Environment Scotland, which worked on that project with the anniversary organisers, are happy to explore future events with West Dunbartonshire Council and the community.”