Legions of locals love the Big Roman Week

Romans will be invading the Boness area this September
Romans will be invading the Boness area this September

Bo’ness will once again be hailing its Roman roots later this year with a week-long festival that looks to the future of celebrating our past.

Certain disgruntled members of 1970s comedy team Monty Python famously inquired what the Romans had ever done for them.

Well, it turned out to be quite a lot in that case and the ancient society also left a lasting legacy – including a great big wall – in the area which is now attracting visitors from all over the world.

Friends of Kinneil have been highlighting the growing interest in this Latin connection – the Antonine Wall, which runs from Bo’ness to Old Kilpatrick near Glasgow, which became Scotland’s fifth World Heritage Site in 2008 – through their annual Big Roman Week festival.

Thanks to support from partners Falkirk Council, Falkirk Community Trust and Historic Environment Scotland, the festival has grown in recent years and is now a recognised set of dates on the calendars of locals and visitors.

Adrian Mahoney, of Friends of Kinneil, said: “Our big aim is to encourage more people to find out about Scotland’s Roman past. The Antonine Wall became a World Heritage Site in 2008, but its stories are still unknown to many people across the country.

“Activities like Big Roman Week help people to discover local heritage sites, meet great experts and find out more about heritage. We also try to have fun in the process.”

The programme of events for this year’s festival, which runs from Saturday, September 16 to Sunday, September 24, will be distributed across the Falkirk Council area next month.

Organisers promise there will be something for everyone to enjoy with walks, talks, films and family events, many of them free of charge, taking place throughout the week.

Highlights include a Big Roman Day at Kinneil House in Bo’ness on September 16 which will see Roman centurions camped in the grounds.

There will also be an community conference on the Antonine Wall at the Hippodrome Cinema in Bo’ness on September 17.

Local libraries and museums in the area will also be holding a wide variety of Roman-themed events and activities and there will be guided walks to Roman sites of historical interest along the Antonine Wall at Carriden in Bo’ness, Rough Castle in Bonnybridge and Croy Hill and Bar Hill near Kirkintilloch.

Visit www.bigromanweek.org.uk for the full schedule of events.