Today (Saturday 14 March 09) we’re only a few miles from home on Antonine’s Wall, looking for a geocache which is tucked away somewhere in the vicinity. The site at Roughcastle near Bonnybridge has the best preserved section of Antonine’s Wall and contains the foundations of a substantial fort complex.
The Romans must be mightily pissed off that instead of hunting down key objects defining their role in the cultural evolution of Scotland we’re here looking for a tupperware box likely to contain a few plastic animals and a tartan keyring with the motto “Haste Ye Back”. I suspect that this was a phrase the locals did not use frequently in respect of the Roman legionnaires who in turn, I’m sure, didn’t want to haste back anyway. Let’s face it, this was by any standards the backside of the civilised world and here we are standing on the last substantial bastion of Roman rule in Britain. On one side civilisation and on the other…the Tartan Army.
We parked at the western boundary of the “Hysterical Scotland” ( Historical Scotland – if you’ve ever had to deal with them then you would understand) land to allow us to walk the full length of exposed wall. When I say wall I don’t mean a tall masonry construction. Antonine’s Wall was thought to be a turf bund with a timber palisade on top. To the north it was protected by a deep ditch and behind a road connected a series of small forts along its length. I could tell from the GPS readout that the cache was almost 1km away, but this wasn’t really about the cache, this was about 140AD.
A most enjoyable dog walk later I was looking for the cache next to the path, the wrong path as it happens. Didn’t realise there were parallel paths only 20m apart. Once that little hitch was sorted out the cache proved relatively easy to find. I photographed the contents, the location of the find and then broke the box. I didn’t mean to break it, it was just sort of overfull and the lid was sort of over tight, that’s all. In horror I looked down at the plastic clip in my hand. I’d only been caching for 1 week and I had managed to claim my first victim. The Fatdog appeared distinctly unimpressed but kept watch for the approach of strangers and more importantly the owner of the box. I ensured the remaining 3 clips were firmly in place, replaced the tub, then we legged it back along the ancient remnant of our troubled past at full chariot speed.