Falkirk to West Dunbartonshire, Scotland
End: Old Kilpatrick
Distance: 37 miles (59.5 km)
Time: 3 days
Surface: Well-Maintained Grass Paths, Surfaced Paths, Forest Trails
The Antonine Wall, the construction of which began in 142 CE and took twelve years to complete, runs across what is now central Scotland between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. It was built on the orders of Emperor Antoninus Pius, and while significant in its day as the northernmost boundary of the Roman Empire, its remnants are now hard to find. Certainly, it was nothing like the line of milecastles, turrets, and double portals begun farther south twenty years earlier by Emperor Hadrian. Constructed from ramparts of soil packed and faced with turf on a stone foundation, the wall was always going to erode, and much of what was the Antonine Wall has long since been lost to us, either built over or simply left to deteriorate.
If it wasn’t for the efforts of William Roy, the famous Scottish surveyor and antiquarian who located and then mapped what he could of it in 1764, there might not even be an Antonine Way today. The rediscovery of the 37-mile-long (59.5 km) wall made possible the creation of the Antonine Way, which includes urban sections such as the Tamfour hill Walk to the south of Camelon; a lovely 300-foot-long (91-m) section in Polmont Wood, and the Seabegs Wood Walk, a 2-mile (3.2-km) hike through a fabulous oak wood to a section that parallels the Forth and Clyde Canal. One of the most intact forts of the Antonine Wall is Rough Castle, where the earthworks for the old ramparts and associated ditches are clearly visible, the Callendar Park section also has extensive visible remains; and a circular loop in the grounds of the Kinneil Estate leads past its Roman “fortlet,” marked out by wooden posts