This is VisitScotlands year of ‘History, Heritage and Archaeology’ and for anybody interested in these topics I’ll do a monthly post on a belter of a day out from Lochend.
Rough Castle Fort on Antonies Wall.
I was driving my Mum and Dad to a 90th birthday celebration at a venue near Kilsyth so they could enjoy a dram! That in itself is a history story!! From Lochend its a journey of about 45 minutes. I then had a few hours to spare so went ‘car wandering’…you know…turning up single track roads that you have often passed and never been up….’nosey’ some may say, I prefer to wrap it up in ‘curiosity’!
I had seen a brown tourist sign and a road sign to Bonnybridge and knew that there were ample remains of Antoine’s Wall, a lesser know wall the Romans built 18 years after Hadrian’s Wall, that runs across the central belt, but really didn’t know this area at all. So I followed said brown tourist signs which took me through a housing scheme, past a small industrial estate then onto a farm type track and suddenly found myself driving alongside the ditches and ramparts.
It’s such a curious feeling ‘tripping’ over something so incredibly intact from 138AD! Flanked by the 19th century Caledonian railway and the Forth and Clyde canal and carving through the space, huge pylons the Iron Giant would have munch for breakfast, it was an assault on my, fairly spartan (no pun intended) engineering senses. It all added, however to the sense of wonder but what unfolded, at the end of the farm track (where there is space for half a dozen cars or so to park) was so impressive. I followed the ramparts, ditches and pylons for several hundred meters, didn’t have the correct gear on…a frock and wedges! crossed the burn and then climbed up to Rough Castle Fort…it’s huge. There are plenty of signs to help you plot who lived where and when and this kind of archaeology, where the work has been done and filled over, means you’re free to mount your imaginary steed and don the helmet of whichever warrior, hairy heathen Celt or refined Roman centurion, and just play and wonder for hours!
Its also part of the John Muir Way (section 4 Kilsyth to Falkirk, 13 miles, 5 hours walk, 2.5 miles cycle) so to make the day out of it if walking and history combined appeals!
After that I’d have had a wee dram, were it not for my chauffeurs badge!