This post is by Nancy Jardine.
No, the ‘up’ isn’t a mistake when I’m referring to the woods at the top of Tuach Hill (pronounced too-ah), the hill that I can see from my kitchen window in the village of Kintore, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
It’s a low hill of approximately 75 metres above sea level, typical of the Garioch area of Aberdeenshire where the landscape is of rolling fertile countryside dotted with low hills and knolls—some natural and some man made. Neolithic long barrows (burial mounds) and ancient standing stone circles are also dotted around the area, many of which have been excavated and documented. You can’t see it because it’s behind the trees but to the far right of the photo above there are remnants of an ancient stone circle.
It’s important to me that these are still accessible by the public – like my ‘hunter-gatherer’ grandkids – but the downside of that freedom is that over the last centuries many of the monuments have been considerably eroded. That erosion isn’t necessarily from intended damage to the stones but constant foot traffic and the wearing away of soil on the hillside has taken its toll. Tuach Hill is a well-liked place for dog walkers and it has been a popular spot for teenagers to hang out for many decades—probably even centuries. Lots of those users have been, and are still, blithely unaware of the antiquity within the area.
It’s a great place to go exploring when you’re only 4, and 1 and ½, years old—and it’s totally amazing just what grandma sets you to find along the way! Our collection of pine cones, twigs and forest floor debris increases each time we go for a wander, though we’ve yet to find anything seriously ancient. On my own blog HERE you can find out a bit more of the history of Tuach Hill; archaeological finds over the last 150 years on the hill; and its associations with the village of Kintore. (the partially reblogged post is named – Book Week Scotland & The Taexali Game)
Tuach Hill has also been called Gallows Hill however, I haven’t managed to find out why this should be so. I wonder, though, if you could make a guess like I have in The Taexali Game?
In The Taexali Game – my time travel novel for Middle Grade/YA readers set in Kintore in AD 210 – the local Taexali chief is called Tuadh. In the earlier drafts of the novel he was named Tuach, and then Tuoch, but in my final version I settled on the spelling of Tuadh. The reason for this change has to do with the local mystery that my time travelling teens have to solve, in addition to completing their interactive game task list whilst remaining alive – seriously deadly threats coming at them from both the invading Ancient Roman legions and some local Celtic tribesmen. For me to tell you why I changed the name of the chief would be to give the game away – so, I’m afraid you’d just have to read the novel to find out!
A reviewer of The Taexali Game says “(I)… soon became drawn into this fast-paced quest with a strong sense of history, and can only admire the skill of grandmother Nancy Jardine in using a meld of fiction, research and fantasy to educate the young of today in the world of ancient Roman Britain.”
Next week, 23rd to 29th November, is Book Week Scotland. This is an annual event which is a week long celebration of reading during which activities are held throughout Scotland intended to encourage and promote the pleasures gained from reading. In 2013, a local author friend and I held an afternoon Drop-In Quiz in a local cafe; and my 2014 contribution was an author talk at a nearby Public Library.
For Book Week Scotland 2015, The Taexali Game will be reduced to 99p (dollar equivalent) from 23rd -29th November. There will also be a ‘giveaway’ of signed paperback copies of The Taexali Game via my Rubidium Time Travel Series author page on Facebook. Look out for those details coming here on my late Saturday night (I’m out selling my books at a Craft Fair today and won’t return till the evening):
That’s my way of celebrating this year, since I’ve been incredibly busy lately, though I did wonder what else I could have done.
What would you have organised?
Enjoy your weekend!
Nancy Jardine writes historical romantic adventures (Celtic Fervour Series); contemporary mystery thrillers (Take Me Now, Monogamy Twist, Topaz Eyes-finalist for THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE 2014); & time-travel historical adventure for Teen/ YA readers (Rubidium Time Travel Series). She finds all historical eras are enticing to research about and ancestry research is a lovely time-suck. She regularly blogs; loves to have guests invade her blog; and FaceBook browsing is a habit she’s trying to keep within reasonable bounds. Grandchild-minding takes up a few days every week and any time left is for gardening, reading, writing and watching news on TV( if lucky)…and the occasional historical drama.
http://nancyjardine.blogspot.co.uk http://nancyjardineauthor.com/ Twitter @nansjar Facebook: http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG and http://on.fb.me/1Kaeh5G (for The Rubidium time Travel Novels.) email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amazon Author page for books and to view book trailer videos: http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere
The Taexali Game http://getbook.at/findmeonamazon