Falkirk District’s Roman festival returns this weekend.
The Big Roman Week kicks off on Saturday, September 16, 2017, with organisers promising something for everyone.
Walks, talks, family events and film shows have been organised to help people find out more about the Roman Antonine Wall, which ran from Bo’ness right across Falkirk district to Old Kilpatrick near Glasgow.
Brochures for the nine-day festival are now available from local libraries and museums. You can also check listings at http://www.bigromanweek.org.uk
Former Falkirk Council tourism spokesman Adrian Mahoney has been helping to organise the festival. He said: “We’ve got a great programme of events for Big Roman Week 2017.
There are activities right across the Falkirk Council area – as well as a talk in Edinburgh and a walk in North Lanarkshire.
“Most events are free of charge and suitable for everyone. So why not come along? You’ll find full details online at www.bigromanweek.org.uk … You can also pick up a brochure from local libraries and museums.”
Highlights for 2017 include:
* events for children and families at Bonnybridge, Larbert, Slamannan, Falkirk, Grangemouth, Meadowbank (Polmont) and Bo’ness Libraries throughout the week;
* A Big Roman Day at Kinneil House, Bo’ness, this Saturday, September 16 – a family fun day featuring the Antonine Guard re-enactment group, plus tours inside the House;
* a free community conference on the Antonine Wall in the Bo’ness Hippodrome cinema on Sunday, September 17 – including speakers from Hadrian’s Wall;
* Roman cooking displays with John Crouch, who appeared on Robson Green’s “Tales from Northumberland”;
* an Italian Night, showcasing great food; plus
* walks to Roman sites along the Antonine Wall – at Carriden (Bo’ness); Mumrills (by Laurieston), Rough Castle (near Bonnybridge), Croy Hill and Bar Hill (near Kirkintilloch and Kilsyth).
The week also includes an event from the Antonine Friendship Link which aims to build connections between modern-day Falkirk and Jayyous near the West Bank.
Most events are free of charge, although you may need to book places in advance. Check listings at www.bigromanweek.org.uk or pick up a brochure from local outlets.
For those not online, you can call 01506 823714 or 01506 510629, with queries.
Adrian said: “With the support of Falkirk Council and Falkirk Community Trust, we’re repeating our Antonine Wall community conference in the fantastic Hippodrome cinema this Sunday morning (September 17).
This will allow local people to hear from Roman experts and find out about more developments right along the Antonine Wall. There will also be an update on efforts to win funding for new community projects to promote the World Heritage Site. We have great speakers lined up, as well as short films about Roman sites. The conference is open to everyone and tickets are still available through Eventbrite or the Big Roman Week website.”
The morning conference will be followed by a reception and then a free walk to the site of Carriden’s Roman Fort.
Since the festival began in 2009, it has been offering guided walks along the Antonine Wall. This year, in addition to local treks, there will be a visit to the Bar Hill and Croy Hill Roman sites, leaving from Auchinstarry Marina, by Kilsyth.
Leading most of the walks will be Geoff Bailey of Falkirk Community Trust.
“Geoff has been a terrific supporter of the festival since it began in 2009,” said Adrian. “He’s taking part in many of the events during Big Roman Week, from walks along the Wall to discussions about recent archaeological finds in the local area. People are fascinated by the Romans and hopefully, lots of local people will attend events during Big Roman Week.”
People are also being encouraged to take pictures at Big Roman Week events and tweet them to @BigRomanWeek twitter account. A giant Roman soldier model has also been installed in Meadowbank Library in Polmont to help fans take their very own “Centurion selfies”.
The idea to launch Big Roman Week came from The Friends of Kinneil charity in Bo’ness.
Maria Ford from the group said: “The festival has become a regular fixture in the local calendar and hopefully it continues to be popular with local people and visitors for many years to come.
“We’re really grateful to Falkirk Community Trust, which has organised many of the events for the Week, as well as Falkirk Council and Historic Environment Scotland for supporting the Festival.
“Although the festival was born in Bo’ness, we’ve always been keen to involve people right across the district and this year’s programme is no exception.”
Find out more at http://www.bigromanweek.org.uk
You can also get updates via the Friends of Kinneil’s social media channels:
THE ANTONINE WALL
- The Antonine Wall was built around 142AD on the orders of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius.
- The turf and stone frontier – more accurately a turf rampart fronted by a wide and deep ditch – ran from Bo’ness right through Falkirk district to Old Kilpatrick, near Glasgow. Along the line of the Wall were a series of forts and fortlets.
- The defensive system was designed to hold back Caledonian tribes from invading southern Scotland, then under Roman rule.
- The Antonine Wall covered around 40 Roman miles, with around a third of the structure being constructed in Falkirk district.
- The Wall was abandoned in the 160s when the Romans retreated to Hadrian’s Wall in northern England.
- Today, many parts of the Antonine Wall lie under towns and settlements, built long after the Romans departed Scotland. However, evidence of the wall’s ramparts and buildings can still be found.
- The local area is fortunate in having a number of highly visible parts of the Antonine Wall. As well as the remains of a fortlet at Kinneil, and a fort at Rough Castle, near Bonnybridge, the Antonine Wall can also be seen at Polmont Woods; Watling Lodge, Tamfourhill (near the Falkirk Wheel), Callendar Park in Falkirk; Seabegs Woods, near Bonnybridge; and Castlecary Roman Fort, near Allandale. You can also see the replica of a Roman tablet at Bridgeness, Bo’ness.
- In addition, there are free exhibitions on the Romans in local museums, Callendar House, Falkirk, and Kinneil in Bo’ness. Outside the district, there are displays in the Auld Kirk Museum in Kirkintilloch; the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow; and the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.
- The Wall became part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site in 2008, joining Hadrian’s Wall and the German Limes frontier. It also meant that Falkirk district became home to Scotland’s fifth world heritage site.
- The Big Roman Week was launched in 2009 to celebrate the area’s Roman links. The Festival is always held around September 19 – the date of the Emperor Antoninus Pius’s birthday.
- A new website for the Wall has been launched at http://www.antoninewall.org … An app for smartphones is also being developed.
The Friends of Kinneil is a registered charity
Charity Registration Number : SC038368