The Antonine Wall and Forth and Clyde Canal
Start/finish: Auchinstarry Marina, near Kilsyth (B802)
Transport: Train - Croy, 1 mile; Bus stop - Auchinstarry Marina.
Distance : 8 miles Time: 4.5 hours.
Terrain: Canal towpaths, and narrow hill tracks. Conditions underfoot are generally good. Stout footwear recommended.
Map: OS Explorer 348
Walking at The Wall World Heritage Site
Walking with the Antonine Wall, a Unesco World Heritage site since 2008, is an exhilarating experience. There is enough of the earthen wall and ditch remaining to be able to understand its defensive qualities;and marvel at the expertise that got the 37-mile- long wall built in two years.
Following the edge of a high ridge for much of the way the views over Kilsyth and the Kelvin Valley, Campsie Fells, and Kilsyth Hills (see walk 10) are equally impressive.
Added to this, view the engineering feat and wildlife of the Forth & Clyde Canal and wider Kelvin Valley.
Points of interest around the Antonine Wall and Forth & Clyde Canal Walk
1 Auchinstarry Marina; home to many barges and house-boats, great spot for observing life on the canal. OutdoorTrax at the Marina also has bikes and canoes for hire.
2 Forth and Clyde Canal; John Smeaton, an engineer, chose a similar route to the Antonine Wall for his canal linking the North Sea with the Firth of Clyde. Work began in 1768 and it was opened in 1790.
3 Dumbreck Marsh - A site of special scientific interest supporting a range of birdlife including lapwings, water rail and skylarks.
4 Croy Hill Roman Fort; one of the small forts built at intervals of one to two miles along the length of the wall.
5 Castle Hill Iron Age fort; now topped by a trig point; Castle Hill was constructed more than 2000 years ago. It was probably abandoned when the Romans arrived.
6 Barr Hill Fort and Roman Bath House; these are among the best Roman remains on the Wall. Enough of the floor of the bath house remains to understand how Roman central heating worked.
The Antonine Wall and Forth and Clyde Canal Walking Route
From the Auchinstarry Marina, go west. Climb to road and cross to far side of the canal. Follow the canal towpath east to next bridge.
At bridge join road and go right; uphill. At crest of hill go to the right signed for Antonine Wall. Follow broad track and continue uphill. At fork in the path take the left signed - Twechar via Antonine Wall, 3 miles.
After short distance go off to the right, to follow the rising ground. On the left are the first glimpses of the Antonine Wall.
Follow clear path uphill to the top of Croy Hill and then into shallow dip.
Follow obvious track downhill, aiming for the right hand edge of houses. Continue to tarmac road.
Go to the right through green gate and left to continue to main road (follow the narrow track and not the black footpath).
Cross the road to take up track signed Barrhill Wood, Roman Fort and Twechar.
On leaving woodland go sharp right and then left to follow the left hand edge of shelter belt. This is the most spectacular section of the wall. The earthen wall and ditch are obvious as it sweeps into a dip and then up to the top of Castle Hill.
After experiencing the marvellous views from trig point at the top of Castle Hill, descend to the west and step through gap in stone dyke. With Antonine Wall on your right follow path through trees.
Emerge into a field dotted with mature trees. In the field you will find the remains of the Roman Bath House and Fort. Exit from this pathless area by gate over the hill to the left and out of sight from the bath house.
Follow broad path away from black gate and at the second gate turn right downhill. Emerge at Twechar war memorial and turn right again downhill through the village to rejoin the canal.
Turn right and take up towpath. Follow back to Auchinstarry Marina.
If you enjoyed this walk why not try the nearby Kilsyth and Colzium walk / cycle route.
Tel: 01236 632625