Scotland – Traces of Roman along the Border
In connection with Scotland, everyone will surely recall the fierce people fighting for independence throughout the history of this wild country, be it the Norman and Viking raiders, or the English and Irish usurpers. For the first time, however, the Romans attempted to penetrate the area at that time inhabited by the wild tribes of the Picts and the quieter Britons under the command of Agricola. However, they soon found that the land was not profitable enough for the long-term stay of the soldiers, so they decided to leave the north of Great Britain again and leave the newly built roads, fortresses and ramparts lying fallow.
Certainly the most famous Roman monument in the United Kingdom is the monumental Hadrian Wall. It is 80 Roman miles (117 kilometers) long stone fortifications, which in some places reached up to 6 meters. Its main purpose was to keep the restless Scottish people beyond the conquest of the conquered empire; In addition to the fortification walls were part of the rampart of 80 gates and 14 fortresses, which have long stayed military garrison.
In the east, the wall begins around Newcastle upon Tyne and in the west ends near Maryport. It was named after Emperor Hadrian, during whose reign Roman troops managed to move just to the Scottish border. This fortification was abandoned quite quickly at the expense of the north-facing Antonine Wall, which was strategically located at the narrowest point of the island and measures only 60 kilometers. The Antonin Wall was built between the years 142–144 during the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius, who planned to expand into the northern part of Britain. Unfortunately, the Roman soldiers were unable to keep their peace in the area between Hadrian and Antonin's wall, so they had to withdraw back after less than 20 years and let the smaller wall to decay.
Both walls have remained unnoticed in the landscape for centuries and have been used only as a valuable source of worked stone for locals. You can still see fields surrounded by ramparts just bounded by stones from the fortifications and certainly could be found in the walls of older houses. From the end of the 17th century, however, their presence became interested in the professional community and over time the half-forgotten ruins became the most important memento of Romans' residence on British territory.
Several fortresses have been preserved along Hadrian's Wall, which are certainly worth a visit. Among the best preserved are, for example, the Vindoland Fort at Little Chester or Vercovicium at Housesteads. The Vercovicium Fortress lies roughly in the middle of the wall and housed the II and I legion.
GPS: 54°59'24.5"N 2°36'05.5"W
Text and photos: Barbara Nováková
The Hogwarts School of Magic is located somewhere in the Highlands, so it's no wonder the landscape is literally interwoven with references to Harry Potter books. J. K. Rowling, who wrote the books, was inspired mainly in the streets of Edinburgh, where she lived at that time. On every corner you can find some unobtrusive reminder from the books, be it street names that look strangely reminiscent of the names of the key characters, or the places where the books themselves were written.
In the morning, we set out to beautiful Highlands situated in the northwest. On our way, we pass snow-caped mountains veiled in morning mist. This tempts us to stop and take a beautiful picture. This time we are heading to a place to what we are looking forward the most to – Skye island. A road bloc complicates our travels. It absolutely confuses our GPS which frighten us a bit. We are running of fuel while gaining kilometers and there are not many gas stations around. Eventually, everything works out well and we continue in our journey.
Autumn is an unusual time of the year to travel. For a long time, we were thinking if to even set out despite less dayilight time, winter, often rains yet Scotland captured us with its beauty and we would eventually buy our flight tickets. There is a regular connection between Prague and Edinburgh. Glasgow is about an hour of car ride from Edinburgh. Yet first we would travel bit further to the west and make a trek in the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park.
Early in the morning we set out to explore the beautiful Scotish island of Skye. Today, we are about to expect the rain whole day. We are disappointed by that because the place is beautiful. However, as rains are quite common around here it is nothing easy to plan your trip accordingly.
After we leaved the beautiful island of Skye we go back onto the land. We travel over 100 miles to the east to Aviemore summer resort where we would spend two nights.
Upon our walk around Loch an Eilein lake, we return to have quick lunch in Aviemore village. Then we set out back to snow covered Scotish nature. This time we walk through a 5 kilometer trail in Ellan Wood, close to Carrbridge village which itself is situated about 20 minutes of car ride from Aviemore.
We leave the Aviemore summer resort and travel down to the south to Perth. There we intend to spend our last night in Scotland. We are about to travel for hour two hours by car.
On this day we set off to central Scotland, to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Loch Lomond is the largest Scotish lake with the area of 71 square kilometers, the maximal depth of the lake is192 meters. There are over 30 small islands and we strive for visiting one of them.
When I first went out into the world at 18, it was Scotland. I still remember the moon in it, when I almost traced it all to this day. For 7 years I wanted to go back and finally it was time. I got on a motorbike in Prague and set off for about 2000 kilometers long way to the northwest.
My visit to Scotland was coming to an end, but I still had about 2,000 kilometers to go home. But Scotland is beautiful, so why hurry? So I stopped at several places on the Isle of Skye and gradually reached the highest mountain of Ben Nevis.
It is time to leave the landscape of lakes, mountains, and long valleys in the center of Scotland and head through the inhospitable wasteland to the north to Thurso in sight of the Orkney islands. Instead of the highway A9, leading along the coast, I also chose deserted roads through endless moors and wetlands.
In the long valley between Fort William and Pitlochry in the middle of Scotland lies a large heath and in the middle of it one of the most deserted train stations. Surrounded only by lakes and heathland, you can still have tea inside it.
Near the famous Lake Ness, there lies at the mouth of the river of the same name into the sea and the ancient city of Inverness. Today it serves as a natural center for the entire Highlands of Scotland. But the city itself is worth a stop and a little exploration.
Our Slovenian adventure full of knowledge continues. After visiting the Kranjska Gora, which is surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery, we move on to another natural gem - the Vintgar Gorge (Blejski Vintgar, Vintgar Sotesque).
If I could only return to Scotland in one place, it would be either a remote and deserted mountainous island of Harriss, or justified by Skye. And the more I think about it, the more Skye wins.
After a whole day in the wetlands in the north of Scotland, I headed west along the coast to get back to the mountains. They are much lower than those in the center of the country, but it does not detract from their beauty. Because of the harsh climates, heather and grass are often not kept on them, often leaving only majestic gray rocks.
The mountains in the north-west of Scotland rarely exceed 800 meters and roads usually run along rivers or coasts. Therefore, I would not expect here to be as beautiful and high as Applecross pass. Let's go to there!
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