So, I took the sleeper train up to Scotland to have a little look at a few of the many Roman remains there. This is a part of Scottish history that some Scots are less than enthusiastic about. Other Scots, on the other hand, feel the same sort of fascination with Roman culture as I do, and understand that you don’t have to actually like Romans to be fascinated by them.
The sleeper left from King’s Cross just before midnight.
It’s pretty comfortable and well set up inside. This is the first class lounge . I wasn’t traveling first class, of course, but I just sneaked in for a look.
My cabin was less swish, but still very comfortable.
Unfortunately the train was delayed by 2hours, so that meant a slight change of plan, but I still managed to see some good sites. First stop, Ardoch, which is known for it’s amazing ditches. There isn’t any stonework above ground to see, but it’s a spectacular site to see nonetheless.
Then back down to Glasgow via Stirling. These huge cranes were set up at Stirling, and I found out that these were part of the equipment for replacing some of the bridges along this stretch of railway line (which was why I had to catch a rail replacement bus).
In Glasgow, I went to the University to visit the Antonine Wall: Rome’s Final Frontier gallery at the Hunterian Collection. The gallery includes a fantastic collection of distance slabs from the Antonine Wall, originally set up by the units building each section.
There are also altars dedicated to a number of gods.
REALLY don’t know what’s going on here…
Next, I went out to a western suburb of Glasgow called Bearsden to visit the bathhouse of the Antonine Wall fort that was sited there. It’s now situated among blocks of flats and the normal life of modern Glasgow.
These are sections of the quite wide stone and rubble base of the turf wall. Here’s me stumbling along one of them, for scale.
I wasn’t really looking at the gravestones, but this one is just for Badger…
Day 2 started with rain…and continued with rain for most of the day. I had been thinking of going to Bar Hill, but frankly it looked a bit grim so I headed straight over to Falkirk.
I’ll skip over a description of the trudge through the pouring rain to get to the Falkirk Wheel, but I must admit that it was pretty cool once I’d actually arrived. This is a barge lift that takes barges between the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal, a height of something like 30metres. It’s an amazing looking piece of engineering, and I’ve been informed that it all works using less power than it takes to blink (that’s undoubtedly an exaggeration, but it really does use very little power).
From there (after a cup of tea) I walked the kilometre or so up to Rough Castle, one of the best preserved sites on the Antonine Wall.
The stretch of ditch here is very clear and although there are no stone remains, there are clear banks and ditches to see associated with the fort.
In an area opposite the fort are the so-called ‘lilias’; defensive pits, which would have had sharpened stakes at the bottom. These were situated to help to defend the gateway of the fort.
On the way back to the bus, I walked along another couple of sections of Antonine Wall ditch at Watling Lodge,
This was just a flying visit,but there were certainly plenty of things to see.
I’ll leave you with a famous display of Glaswegian humour.