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This morning I cycled out to Barochan Hill, north of Houston in S.W. Scotland, to find the site of the 1st century AD Roman Fort which was rediscovered in 1972. The site is difficult to access and there appear to be no above-ground remains visible.

The site dates from around AD 80 or 81 and had a short life of around 5 years. It was built during the campaigns of Gnaeus Julius Agricola which predated both Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine Wall. As will be evident from the video clip below, the site offers a superb strategic vantage point with 360 degree views over the local terrain including the Firth of Clyde.

Key facts concerning the fort:

  • Enclosed an area of about 3.25 acres ( 1.3 ha) and was oriented towards the west.
  • Rampart was 15 ft ( 4.5m) wide and was constructed of turf fronted by a timber palisade and revetted at the back with clay.
  • Northern defensive ditch was around 10-12 ft wide and 1.5 ft deep.
  • There was an annexe of about 1 acre attached to the eastern side of the fort.

Interestingly, the Romans built another fort, at Bishopton, 1.75 miles to the north around 60 years later in context of the Antonine Wall frontier.

Here is a video clip showing the elevated location with views today of the Kilpatrick Hills, Glasgow conurbation. Renfrew and Paisley.

 

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