One of only six UNESCO World Heritage sites in Scotland, the Antonine Wall is very worthy of a visit, especially for a walk in the footsteps of Roman history.
There is enough of the earthen wall and ditch remaining to be able to understand its defensive qualities and to marvel at the a 37-mile wall built in just two years across Scotland almost 2000 years ago.
Roman soldiers built the Antonine Wall for the Emperor Antoninus Pius around AD 142.
Following the edge of a high ridge for much of the way, the views over Kilsyth and the Kelvin Valley, Campsie Fells and the Kilsyth Hills are equally impressive. Added to this, is a chance to spot wildlife on the Forth & Clyde Canal and wider Kelvin Valley.
Home to barges and house-boats, the marina is great spot for observing life on the canal. OutdoorTrax at the marina also has a range of outdoor activities to try.
Engineer John Smeaton 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 the waterway was opened in 1790.
A designated site of Special Scientific Interest the marsh is home to many species of of birdlife, including lapwings, water rail and skylarks.
Croy Hill was the site of one of the small forts built at intervals of one to two miles along the length of the wall. It is not visible on the ground today, but the Antonine Wall ditch is identifiable across much of the hill.
Now topped by a trig point, Castle Hill was constructed more than 2,000 years ago. It was thought to have been abandoned when the Romans arrived.
These are among the best Roman remains on the Antonine Wall. Enough of the floor of the bath house remains to understand how Roman central heating worked.
The new replica distance stone sits next to a towering Roman head sculpture at the Nethercroy Site, near Kilsyth, of the Antonine Wall. It is named after the Roman god of the woods, and sits at the Nethercroy site of the Antonine Wall.
From the Auchinstarry Marina, head along the south side canal towpath. And continue east to the next bridge.
Head past the canal boats westward until you reach Nethercroy.
At Nethercroy take the junction west. It is signposted “Craigmarloch, 1 mile.”
At the gate, continue upwards.
At the junction, head west. It is signposted “Croy hill, Antonine’s wall – 1 mile.”
Go south past Silvanus and stop to admire the stunning sculpture.
Turn east at the sign for Croy. Head up McCoy Hill on a well-defined path.
The path will eventually lead to three trees. Continue on the path through the trees and up to the top of Croy Hill.
Check out the information stones on the route.
Continue eastwards along the top of the hill on the path.
Stay on the path and head towards the right of the houses.
Head through the gate and down the path.
Head through the green gate and look eastwards. There is a path heading towards the road.
Head east on this path.
Walk through the gate and cross the road to the path on the opposite side of the road. Watch out for traffic.
Head up the path in an eastwards direction.
Continue eastwards until the path reaches a gate. Head through the gate.
The path eventually reaches another gate.
Continue on the path until you come to a sign that says “Bar Hill”. Take the small path to the north. Or if you want a shorter walk, continue northward on the sign marked “Auchistarry Marina”.
Check out the information stone.
The highest point of the route is now visible. Head up the hill.
The top is marked by a trig point.
Head west, down through the trees and then head west on a faint path.
Keep high up on the path and you will reach the site of the Roman fort.
Head west to the gate, then turn north at the next gate.
Follow the path to the village of Twechar.
Turn north at the war memorial and walk along the pavement to the canal.
Walk east along the canal.
At the end of the canal, continue for 50m until you reach the bridge.
Turn east at the bridge.
Cross the road and go through the green gate to return to Auchinstarry.