CAMPAIGNERS have won a battle to ensure a tribute to the travelling community overlooking a loch has been given official recognition as a monument of interest.

Around 1,000 people had petitioned the Scottish Parliament to put pressure on Historic Scotland add the Tinker's Heart at Cairndown, Argyll and Bute, to its monuments of national importance.

The government agency has now reversed a previous refusal to add the heart, which is made up of quartz stones, to its schedule.

It had opened a consultation about the future of the site, overlooking Loch Fyne, which is regarded by the travelling community as a sacred monument which can be traced back to the 1746 Battle of Culloden.

Argyll and Bute SNP MSP Michael Russell said he was delighted by the decision.

In a letter to the Scottish Parliament's Petitions Committee, Historic Scotland's Director of Heritage Management Barbara Cummins outlines the new work the organisation has undertaken since they were called back to the committee for questioning about their refusal.

She wrote: "On the basis of this new work, we now consider Tinkers' Heart is a site of high cultural significance in three main areas:

"It gives us a great understanding of the traditions and material heritage of Scottish Travellers; it is a rare example of a permanent physical monument of Scottish Travellers; and it holds a high significance in the consciousness of Gypsy/Travellers and the people of Argyll as a symbol of Scottish Travellers and their heritage."

She added: "In light of this, we intend to place Tinkers' Heart on the Schedule as a monument of national importance."

Mr Russell who has worked with traveller and writer Jess Smith for several years to secure a listing for the monument as well as improvements to access and signage said: "This is fantastic news and I am delighted by the change of heart in Historic Scotland."

Mr Russell said campaigners' persistence had paid off after supporters had come up against officialdom at the agency two years ago.

Ms Smith's petition to the Scottish Parliament attracted more than 1,000 names. She said the decision "recognises not just the relevance and value of the site but also the important role that travelling people have played in Scotland's national story for generations.

"I now look forward to working with the local community and many others in order that access and signage can be improved and the inspiring story of the heart made known to everyone in our country."