'Roman and Native': The Antonine Wall and Manau
Built around AD 142 the Antonine Wall formed the north-west frontier of the Roman empire, if only for a few decades. This massive turf wall ran coast-to-coast from the Firth of Forth to the Clyde, passing through what are now the outskirts of Glasgow. Traces of it remain highly visible in the landscape meriting UNESCO World Heritage status. This trip offers both a 'native' and a Roman perspective of this period of Scottish history.
A drive of about 1/2 hour brings us to Rough Castle, the best preserved of the 19 forts on the Wall. Extensive stretches of rampart and military road are clearly visible, as are traces of the fort itself, including defensive lilias (pits). We take a leisurely stroll along about 1.5km of the wall and enjoy splendid views to the north. Our walk terminates at the engineering icon that is the Falkirk Wheel, the only rotating boat lift in the world, which links two of central Scotland’s most important canals: a pleasant setting for us to eat our packed lunch (provided). We travel on to nearby Torwood, glimpsing the famous Kelpies en route. A brief but moderately strenuous walk through woodland brings us to Tappoch, the best preserved 'lowland broch' for a look at how the other half lived. We take the scenic route back to Glasgow, via Menteith, passing by the sites of other brochs at Leckie and Buchlyvie. We conclude our trip with a brief visit to the well-preserved remains of a Roman bath-house at Bearsden on the outskirts of the city.
Return to Glasgow (University Avenue) approx. 18.00.
N.B. To make the most of your trip you are encouraged to visit the University's Hunterian Museum which houses an impressive display of relevant material, including all but two of the surviving Antonine Wall distance slabs (and replicas of the others), plus a wide range of other artefacts and materials from both Roman and native sites (including finds from Buchlyvie and Leckie brochs). Much of this material was recovered thanks to the excavations of William Robertson (1743-1814), eminent Classicist, Professor of Humanity at Glasgow, and, it appears, a Gael.
Cost: £25 (Includes packed lunch)
Access: STURDY FOOTWEAR REQUIRED This trip involves extended periods in the open. Waterproof jacket and/or sunscreen highly recommended.