Brimham Rocks

Brimham Rocks

Soo Peeps, today we learn that nature can be stranger than fiction and astonishingly beautiful to boot; it’s also on our doorstep…

Carol is looking exceptional today; is there a day when she doesn’t? She’s telling us that the improvement in the weather will last most of the week and the blue skies we see this morning are due to a high pressure that’s become lodged with the centre almost exactly in the middle of Yorkshire. So we win again – Damn, ‘Hot Chocolate’ is going to be buzzing around in my head for the rest of the day!
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We’re going to Brimham Rocks. This is a mysterious and beautiful area of Yorkshire in Nidderdale. We have to be back early so this walk will be as long (or short) as we chose and I know from past experience that we’re going to get held up with at least some of these wonderful obelisks.
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This is a National Trust property and is free to get in but £5 to park your car (free if you’re a National Trust member).
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Click on any picture and you can page through at full size and; believe me, it’s worth doing…

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The morning is what my dad would have called a “proper spring day”. The sun is still low and the shadows that are cast by the hedges, trees, dry stone walls and even the hills are long and defined. There are small smudges of cloud against a universe of blue like an artist has under-charged his brush and lazily caught the canvas here and there leaving short ladders of white cloud in the sky.
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I’m feeling good, George mentions Carol and the fabulous forecast, well I think he mentioned the forecast!
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We leave Ripon and head towards Nidderdale. It’s about 10 miles from Ripon past Studley Park and through some of the most beautiful scenery along a road that reminds me of Pat Clifton, now there’s a quiz question for you! I’d be sitting at some ungodly hour of the morning with a poorly daughter under my right arm, Benny, our little dog snuggled up next to her (more potent in terms of symptomatic relief than any drugs), I really can recommend a dog to brighten up a poorly child. We’d be watching the priceless images of Postman Pat and the wonderful voice of Ken Barrie telling a distressed Mrs. Goggins that that the parcel would be delivered regardless of the fog. The church bells ringing across the valley would guide Pat to the appropriate address and Jess would be sitting patiently beside him. These roads and lanes are just like that, idyllic in every way.
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We turn into Brimham Rocks car park and I’ve been in such a day dream that I’m astonished that we’re here already. There’s plenty of space as it’s midweek, there will be a few school trips later though but the place is so expansive that even when there are lots of people here, it doesn’t feel like it.
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Brimham Rocks are a result of erosion by glaciation, water, the wind and any other element that could be thrown at them over the millennia. They’re millstone grit, which I suppose, is self-explanatory and are scattered over an area of about a square mile which doesn’t sound much but I can assure you it is.
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I came up here on Sunday to do a quick recce of the area as there’s been a significant amount of damp stuff from the sky. It drains readily but if you intend to walk down to the pastures and do any of the standard walks that take you away from the “rocks area”, you might want to do likewise as it can get a bit boggy down there.
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We leave the car and adopt the conventional clockwise approach turning left from the car park and are almost immediately presented with a glorious view of Nidderdale. If you have children, and I would urge you to bring them here, you need to know there are no concessions to “health and safety”. There is an expectation that you’ll look after them; however, I’d urge you to take a sensible approach and let them climb and explore. The teachers and group leaders that have brought the youngsters up today are certainly adopting that approach and they’re having a great time.
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Many of these beautiful monoliths have names. You may need a bit of imagination to recognise the shape (or you could adopt a hippy approach with a herb or two sprinkled on your sandwich!) but it’s worth Googling the site and printing off a sheet that enables you to at least try to identify them.
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We clamber about like school kids on speed, exploring the caves, summits, nooks and even the odd cranny, now there’s an exercise in memory recall…
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About halfway around and perfectly placed, there are facilities. Boys and girls loos and a cafe. They serve excellent pies, pasties and sausage rolls but if you want them warm they’ve only got a microwave. I can recommend the pork pies and Peter was very complimentary about the sausage rolls.

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We continue the circuit without going down to the pastures. There are some rocks that are worth climbing but all of them require care.
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IMPORTANT: getting up is sometimes quite easy but getting back down again is more challenging. George was coming down off a particular stone with some extra help from Mac. Towards the end of the descent, George stumbled slightly and whilst there was a lack of intent from Mac he was in a (not particularly enviable) position to be able to assure him that his prostate was fine.
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On return to the car park, an ice cream van had magically appeared and Pete talks me into a Magnum.

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Brimham Rocks are worth a visit just for the rocks but it’s also an excellent start point for three or four brilliant walks. If you explore the site as we did you’ll cover about 2 miles and be well exercised; however, the other routes are from 4 miles to about 9 and all include fabulous scenery as standard.
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We stayed 4 hours and covered just over 2 miles. You may be able to get a wheelchair around parts of it if you stick to the paths but I would recommend doing a recce beforehand.
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Feel free to “share” and like the YR Page if you like the “Ramblings” and pictures…G. X
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With George RenwickPeter Hymer, Dave Rider and Grant McDonnell

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