Ive not been to many places round the world but this one is up there with Samaria gorge, Mont Blanc and Australian old rainforest, its that good.
We arrived early, but after taking a couple of wrong turns, not early enough, two other cars had spewed its occupants across the carpark and another had pulled up a few isles down, we payed the money grabbing ticket monster and headed off into the autumnal woods in the direction of the smartie tube ?
We came here a few years ago but Eric was too young to remember, he was too young to clamber freely then, this place is a childs dream come true and an over protective parents worst nightmare, but with only one to care for at this time we roamed as freely as the wind. Eric was almost beside himself with excitement he wanted to climb them all but there are still some that we didnt dare try.
Along the edge of the rocks is a platform with a big rocking stone on it, the first time I sat on it, it gave me a scare when it moved as if it would continue rolling down the cliff with me still on it. I climbed atop and gave it the old Elvis the pelvis whilst Eric photographed my rock n rolling.
We tried to get up onto every rock stack because I knew there was another rocking stone on one somewhere, but in these later years rediculous vertigo has gotten me and I'm as scared as an eight year old boy, but in the end we did get upon top of one and from there I could see the neighbouring rock had what looked like three in a row, Tsk!
The autumn leaves and early morning glow may have added to the experience somewhat, but it was just magical, for about an hour or so, then the place started to fill up with people, some with more monkey powers than me, after a while every rock stack had its person point on top, like roving anarak wearing trig points.
It became what I thought was a reasonable time to return to the car, then found out that four hours had flown by, we never did see the smartie tube or maybe we did but didnt know a smartie tube when we saw one. Off to Foutains Abbey now, never been before, is it any good?
I was up at the rocks today and they were absolutely heaving with folk.
The rocks themselves are an amalgamation of every proto temple you have ever seen. Not so much a landscape but a dreamscape. the Ur equivalent of a city of dreaming spires.
This vast site consists of an area of craggy outcrops, now run by NT. As we approached from a back lane we could see pillars and tors and chimneys of rock rising impressively out of a heather and willowherb purple hillside. Magic! We parked next to a sign saying 'No parking', knowing we weren't going to stay long and headed off up a track to get a closer view. If only, if only we'd had more time here - this is a HUMUNGEOUS site, certainly worthy of a whole day's exploration. There's a neat expensive car park further up the road from which NT will extract your money. The promise of refreshment at a kiosk lured me in, but we left caffeineless. I can't wait to return here. But I'll bring my own coffee.
We used to play here as kids, ultimate abandonment to imagination. The rocks were transformed into the red rocks we saw in cowboy films, and as the Apache I would rain imagined arrows down onto my six-gun toting pals...
...now I know, and see through different eyes, that the rocks have an attraction, a history and a fantasy all of their own - which far outshines anything that my wild imagings projected on them.
There are so many strange names for the rocks here: tortoises, frogs, cannons - and they're no doubt constantly changing according to fashion, as the quote below suggests:
On the verge of the precipice which girdles the mass of rocks on this side, stand the Baboon's Head, the Pulpit Rock, the Serpent's Head, and the Yoke of Oxen; (These names are frequently changed by the innovating, garrulous guide, who has changed the Baboon's Head to the Gorilla's, and the Yoke of Oxen to the Bulls of Babylon, which unsettling of nomenclature he calls keeping pace with the times. Unique as the rocks are amongst the freaks of nature, there is nearly as much originality about the guide but infinitely less grandeur.) Near this last is the Idol Rock, one of the most singular masses, and one of the greatest wonders of the place.
Some of the stones are Rocking Stones. It's said they can only be moved by an honest person. Peter Walker ('Folk Stories from the Yorkshire Dales' 1991) says it is a local joke that no Yorkshireman has ever managed to rock them!
He also reports that somewhere among the rocks is a cave where a witch lived: "The Abode of the Great Sybil, who was said to be even more remarkable at fortune telling than the famous Mother Shipton of Knaresborough."
One of the more famous stories is of Edwin and Julia. They were madly in love with each other but Julia's father wasn't having any of it. Especially when Edwin asked for his daughter's hand in marriage. He forbade them to see each other any more. But of course, they couldn't stand to live without each other. They decided to leap off Brimham Rocks and spend eternity together that way. Julia's father got wind of the plan and dashed up there to dissuade them - but they jumped before he could reach them. However, by some miracle, instead of plummeting to their dooms, they floated gently to the ground. "Some said that a fairy who lived among the rocks had witnessed their misery and knew they could be happy if only they were allowed to marry." Perhaps it was the influence of the Druids - or maybe even the magic in the rocks themselves. More boring people put it down to Julia's skirts being so voluminous. But whatever, her Father at last consented to their marriage and naturally they lived happily ever after. And the rock was forever known as 'Lovers' Leap' or 'Lovers' Rock'.
Some Account of the Brimham Rocks in Yorkshire
In a Letter to the Rev. Mr. Norris, Secretary
By Hayman Rooke Esq.
Read at the Society of Antiquaries, May 25th 1786.
I think [this] may be called an oracular stone, though it goes by the name of the Great Cannon. It rests upon a bed of rock, where a road plainly appears to have been made leading to the hole (a), which at the entrance is three feet wide, six feet deep, and about three feet six inches high. Within this aperture on the right hand is a round hole, marked (b), two feet diameter, perforated quite through the rock, sixteen feet, and running from south to north. In the above mentioned aperture, a man might lie concealed, and predict future events to those that come to consult the oracle, and is heard distinctly on the north side of the rock, where the hole is not visible. This might make the credulous Britons think the predictions proceeded solely from the rock deity. The voice on the outside is as distinctly conveyed to the person in the aperture, as was several times tried.
"Stone !did the hand of sacerdotal fraud
Shape thee into this vital type of things,
Or did a million winters, on their wings
Of sythe-like perseverence come abroad
To bid conjecture stand before thee awed,
And, almost severing thee from present earth,
Make thee a marvel? Vainly giv'st thou birth
To solomn fancies, building an abode
Around thee, for a world of shapeless ghosts;
Vainly they rise before me, calling up
Kings and their masters, and imagined hosts,
That fight for clouds. What then! the heath-flower's cup
With dewdrops feeds this fountain ever dear
And the winged ouzel whistles "God is here!"
By Ebenezer Elliot , the Corn-law Rhymer.
from his sonnet The Rock Idol at Brimham