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Salmon Cakes

This week’s visitor attraction is 37 miles long and nearly 1,900 years old and lies from coast to coast across Central Scotland, was built by the Romans and is now a World Heritage Site. It is, of course, the Antonine Wall which stretches from Bo’ness on the Firth of Forth to Old Kilpatrick on the River Clyde. On 7 July 2008 the World Heritage Committee meeting in Quebec approved it as a World Heritage Site and the Antonine Wall has become part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site alongside Hadrian’s Wall and the German limes.

Hadrian’s Wall in the north of England had been constructed under Emperor Hadrian in 122AD, to keep out the Barbarians, and some twenty years later the Roman army in the early 140s, on the orders of Emperor Antoninus Pius, began construction of the wall which bears his name. Across Central Scotland they built a turf rampart fronted by a wide and deep ditch. Forts and fortlets provided accommodation for the troops based on the new wall as well as points where the wall could be crossed. They were linked by a road, known as the Military Way. All these, together with the camps used by the wall builders, are included in the World Heritage Site. The Antonine Wall was the most northerly frontier of the vast Roman Empire but it was only manned for about a generation before being abandoned in the 160s.

Visit for further information about the wall and details of where you can find it. For example you can easily combine a visit to a modern marvel The Falkirk Wheel with seeing a part of the 1,900 year old Roman defence against the Barbarians. As you can walk the route of the wall, forts and camps, the new publication ‘Map of the Antonine Wall’ (£5) published by Historic Scotland and the Hunterian Museum could well become a best-seller. You can see artefacts from the Antonine Wall at museums along its length – Hunterian Museum, Glasgow; National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh; Kinneil Museum, Bo’ness; Callendar House Museum, Falkirk and Auld Kirk Museum, Kirkintilloch. Hopefully with the new world status, the Antonine Wall will become one of Scotland’s major tourist attractions with crowds to rival say Kelvingrove Museum – only time will tell.

Did salmon form part of the diet of the wall builders and soldiers manning the wall? It certainly would of the local population but they would not have been able to enjoy this week’s recipe – Salmon Cakes – as potatoes did not reach Scotland for a long time after the Roman troops left for good!

Salmon Cakes

Ingredients: 212 gram tin salmon, drained and flaked; 3 medium potatoes, cooked and mashed; 2 spring onions finely chopped; 1 egg beaten; 15 ml olive oil; salt and pepper to taste

Method: Preheat oven 375° F, 190 degrees C. Mix together the salmon, egg, mashed potato, olive oil, green onions to form a stiff mixture. Season to taste. Roll into a sausage, then cut off sections and form into patties about 1 inch thick. Coat these with milk and roll in breadcrumbs. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 4.

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