If you go up to the woods today…

Susann 2 croppedThis 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.

Tuach 1It’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.

huntersIt’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.”

The_Taexali_Game_Cover_for_KindleNext 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.  Image1Look 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: nan_jar@btinternet.com

CFS End Sept 2015




Amazon Author page for books and to view book trailer videos:   http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere

3 mysteries no words


Most novels are available in print and ebook formats from Barnes and Noble KOBO; iTunes; Waterstones.com; Smashwords; and various other ebook stores.

 The Taexali Game   http://getbook.at/findmeonamazon




25 thoughts on “If you go up to the woods today…

  1. I love walking through the woods. The forest was my Playground when I was a child. My imagination and make believe world ran amuck. Sounds like a lovely time with grandkids. Thanks Cher’ley


      1. WordPress is having hissy fits tonight! …continued from above…as i loved wnadring the woods as well. I hope Del is doing well, Cherley- best regards to him.


  2. Lovely post, Nancy. What a treat it must be to live in an area where so much history happened and you can still see bits and pieces. How precious to share it with your grandchildren. They’ll never forget, for it’s special times like these that hang around forever in one’s memory. I am so happy to see your success with your books. Frankly, I think you’ve organized a lot to get so much done! If I had one thing to organize, it would be my writing. Sadly, the muse has been gone for almost three years. I hope she returns soon with lots of stories for me to write! Good luck with book sales over the holidays!


    1. I hope the muse returns too, Linda because I really enjoyed your tales of the circus. Though I seem to be doing a lot, and I am, I’ve not had a lot of new writing time for ages. I’m hoping to rectify that very soon since my fellow crafters take a break during Jan, Feb and March so no fairs during those months. We often get really poor weather then and it’s best not t be out driving for miles when it’s not necessary. That’ll be my ‘winter’ writing slots. 🙂


  3. The ancient earthworks are fascinating. Some states in the U.S. have American Indian mounds dating back hundreds and hundreds of years, long before the first whites rowed ashore onto the Eastern Seaboard. I worked at a Central Ohio newspaper in the ’70s, and there was one near Newark. It was state-protected and there were signs about not to walk on it and erode it. When working at a newspaper in Central Florida in the ’80s, friends and I motored up to Georgia and visited a state sit of Indian serpent mounds… also had a nice museum.


    1. Mike- That’s great to know they’re not only being preserved but are being ‘shared’ via museum exhibition. I feel a need to find out more about the serpent mounds… 😉


  4. Nancy, busy or not, you have given the world a wonderful gift with your stories and your research. Continued success in all that you do. Doris


    1. Thank you -that’s very kind of you to say so, Doris. Not everyone understands our (I include you, as well 😉 ) need to do more and more research, almost to the point of obsession. But I’m fairly sure that when I set aside Roman Scotland research I’ll be onto a period just as engaging- like the Victorian era.


  5. Lovely post, Nancy! I love exploring the woods, too, and from that came “Cody’s Cabin: Life in a Pine Forest,” which I’ll be selling at book events leading up to Christmas. Fun to include our own experiences, and “what if’s” into our works, isn’t it?! Best to you at the various events you’ll be at this season!


  6. Sounds like a magical place to walk. I love visiting places like that and imagining what must have gone on when those places were created. I always get goosebumps in old abandoned houses or cemeteries, wondering about the life that existed “before”. Love the history you present in your blogs.


    1. Thank you, Neva. You’re right. It’s quite humbling standing next to something that was so important to people thousands of years ago.


  7. Some of my best memories of childhood are hikes through the woods behind my house. They seemed like a great forest then, though I realize now that it wasn’t more than a couple acres. But our adventures were quite epic.


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