In The Druid, Bellicus starts off in modern-day Milton, West Dunbartonshire, and heads up along the A82 (roughly!) through Duntocher. I was working here today and knew there was an old fort located in the park, so I nipped in and took a few photos. To be honest, there’s practically nothing to see of the old fort, or the Antonine Wall which it was part of. A few stones – that’s about all there is to see of the ancient remains, even though there was also a bath-house here as well. However, I hope the photos give you some idea of what a great vantage point this was, and why the Romans would have built a fort here. You can see for miles around and, to be honest, it’s a little bit deceptive – I’ve worked around here loads of times over the years and, until I walked to this part of the park today, I had no idea it had such great views.
So, starting at the top, you can actually see the site of the next fort in the line – Castlehill, which I visited just a couple of months ago as that plays a bigger part in The Druid (read about that visit, and see the pics HERE).
Close up of Castlehill Fort on the horizon
And this is that location from much closer up, from my earlier visit.
So, back to Duntocher, and the local council have erected this rather nice fence about the remains. I have no idea what the Latin means, and Google Translate makes no sense, but there’s an information board to tell us a bit about this place.
Again, the remains are disappointing but, for me, that’s not the point. The site is worth a visit if you’re in the area simply because it provides an invaluable link to the past, and an insight into how the Antonine Wall was formed and the direction it took.
The war memorial (the big Celtic cross) is the site of the old bath-house. The building to the left is a Christian church, and I actually used to read the gas meter in that building every month, yet I had no idea it was built on such an amazing site. It’s incredible to think how close we sometimes are to places that saw so much in the past, without ever realising it!
There we go then. Apologies if you were hoping for something more spectacular than a few stones! Maybe one day the site will be properly excavated and more will be found? I hope so. For now, here’s the official Antonine Wall website’s page for Duntocher – LINK.
If you’d like to find out more about Bellicus’s adventures through Duntocher, right down to the Saxon Shore and beyond, here’s some links (the book is back at number 1 in the UK “Celtic, English & Welsh Myths and Legends” chart, ahead of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novels as I write this!):
UK Kindle edition (free on Kindle Unlimited)
USA Kindle edition (also free on Kindle Unlimited)