Roman Roads in the Fife Peninsula
As it stands at present
no roads are known in either Fife, Kinross or Clackmannanshire.
However, a number of camps are known.
Dunning and near Abernethy are thought to date from the Flavian
period (AD77-84) and are presumably linked to the fortifications
on the Gask Ridge.
In the Severan period
(AD 208-211), a legionary fortress was built at Carpow where the
Tay may have been crossed for campaigns further north. A string
of camps extends eastwards from Innerpeffray, Forteviot, Carpow
and Auchtermuchty to Edenwood near Cupar, and possibly Bonnytown,
south-east of St Andrews. While no roads are confirmed on this
route, it no doubt represents the line of march taken on the campaign.
When we turn to the
antiquarians we find that there is a long standing tradition of
a camp south of Loch Ore, where the 9th Legion was attacked. The
camp is suggested by its tentative identification with Ptolemy's
town of Orrea although a place called Orrock, north of Burntisland,
has also been suggested. Although faint traces at the first site
were said to have been visible, nothing definite can be seen today.
tradition is that there was a route north from where the Forth
bridges are now, past Loch Leven and then over the Ochil Hills
Very little of the
antiquarian suggestions have been confirmed, though some are probably
worth following up. Colonel Shand referred to a causeway running
west from Carpow which is undoubtedly the same as that by which
the monks of Lindores and the nuns from Elcho went in procession
to the church of Ecclesiamagirdle.
Another causeway ran
towards Falkland from Rossie, close to where the Auchtermuchty
camp was sited. Early charters talk of another causeway near Markinch,
a road termed as a "strata" running north from Inverkeithing
and some bridges that were old even in medieval times. These however
are speculative and would need further evidence.
One champion of an
extensive network of roads and camps in the Fife peninsula was
Sir Robert Sibbald, followed closely by the Rev. Andrew Small,
who can be aptly summarised as having a station on nearly every
hill, and a road in nearly every valley. It is interesting to
see another antiquary, William Maitland, speak with some irritation
of Sibbald's camp at Orrock and military way at Crossgate, that
they showed not the least appearance of a camp or a road.
The Roman Presence, ScARF (Scottish Archaeological Research Framework),
Atlas of Scottish History to 1707 - see p.59 ff.
Vol.I, p.168/9, George Chalmers, 1st edition, 1807