Thursday, 11 June 2015

Ardunie Watchtower -and walk the Roman Road !




I am a keen dog  walker  and am fortunate  enough to reside in one of Scotland’s  most beautiful and historic areas . My Border Terrier “ Bo “ enjoys  the countryside and the chance  to explore ! Despite  the  variable weather we regularly  have  to contend  with , these ploys are great fun  ! 

One of our  favourite  jaunts  is to the Roman Watch Tower at Ardunie  near Trinity Gask .It is  approximately equidistant from Crieff and Auchterarder and some 7 miles  west of Perth . Let us , however  be quite honest- there is  no existing Tower - there is just a clearing  in the woods with  an excellent  series  of  descriptive boards  illustrating what Ardunie  was like a way back in the  early  days when it  was constructed around 70 AD  



OS Map showing location of Ardunie Roman Watchtower. 



Bo investigates the Romans !
The Roman Road
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 Organic remains in the native settlements show no sign of being destroyed, while farming appears to have flourished.This is shown by the remains of pollen buried in the soil, which indicate that, soon after the Roman conquest, the numbers of weeds started to fall, suggesting cattle were grazing the land more intensely. 

The archaeologist leading the research ( Dr David Woolliscroft ) said: "You can tell from the number of weeds it was low-level grazing before the Romans arrived and afterwards more animals must have been raised, leading to more grazing. The surprise is how peaceful it all seems to be. Wherever we've looked, we've found peace, tranquillity and prosperity, which is not all what we were expecting."



The clearing in the wood where the watchtower was located 
The farm road was in fact the original Roman Road




Some 2000 years  ago when the Roman watchtower occupied  this site there would have  been few trees around .



The  fence is NOT to keep you out but simply protect the site from the  grazing roe deer that abound here !




The dark area is where the watchtower stood




"If it had been a bloody war of conquest we would have expected agriculture to go into decline because many of the farmers would have been killed, but we find it was flourishing." Dr Woolliscroft added their research suggests that the Gask line was built not to keep the Scottish nation at bay, but to protect their newly-found trading partners - the farmers - from roaming gangs of thieves sweeping down from the Highlands. 

Scots are by instinct a friendly , gregarious nation who have ventured around the Globe often in the pay of exploiters , often on a quest to seek fresh hope and a new home . 

An interesting observation on the Gask Ridge is that the road  connecting the forts and watchtowers was constructed on the north side and thus would have been exposed to attacks  from the " wild Caledonians " ! It would appear that our Roman "guests " actually lived in comparative harmony  with their neighbours !



Plan of the Gask Ridge  shown on the site board at Ardunie



The signage at Ardunie depicts what the watch tower would have looked like. 

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