Total distance –10.2 kilometres
Ascent – 220 metres
Walking conditions – Well defined dirt footpath and tarmac cycle path. No difficulties.
Time required – Around 3.5 – 5 hours.
Nearest town – Kilsyth
What have the Romans ever done for us? If you’re a Monty Python fan you’ll know that there’s a long list of things that the Romans have done for us. What wasn’t mentioned in the Life of Brian however, were the numerous great walking routes for outdoor enthusiasts that the Romans built. The Auchinstarry Circuit is just one of them.
Start at the Auchinstarry car park which is just south of Kilsyth. Take a left from the car park and walk for about 200 metres and then turn left onto the Forth and Clyde canal path before the road crosses over the canal. Walk for about two Kilometres along the canal path. Cross the road bridge over the canal and follow the signed footpath up the slope of the hill. Veer right and that will take you up onto the higher ground. If you keep to the highest points along this broad ridge you’ll see signs of the wall together with tourist information. The path then drops down to the north end of Croy and then leads you across the road (the B802). Maintain the same westerly direction and after about one kilometre you’ll come to a very well preserved part of the Antonine Wall which then leads up to the top of Castle Hill. This provides a wonderful view of the surrounding area. The path then takes you on to Barhill Fort, down to Twechar, then a 2.5 Kilometre walk along the canal and straight back to the Auchinstarry car park.
The great thing about stopping at Auchinstarry is that when you’ve finished watching the rock-climbers on the quarry walls you can cross the road and go to the marina and visit the Boathouse for a good feed or some refreshments. The decked area is a fantastic spot and the wasps in attendance are friendly. Well, none of us got stung.