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On the Rocks

Tuesday 21st August 2001, North Yorkshire

Brimham RocksBrimham Rocks

I'M THE FIRST in the car park when I arrive at Brimham Rocks just after 8. Much as I like to see visitors enjoying the place it's wonderful to have this popular spot all to myself for a short while. The sun is well up above the distant Vale of York, but it's still so quiet. As I walk through the birch woodland, the loudest sound is the ambient hum of flies.

The isolated plateau seems a haven of peace, surrounded by a panorama which takes in half of Yorkshire. It feels rather like being on a small island, except, near the highest point, where you'd expect to find the lighthouse, there's Brimham House hunkered down amongst the rocks.

heather There's a definite edge on the west and northern rim the plateau, where the scarp is similar to so many millstone edges. To the east Brimham Moor rolls away as a sea of purple Heather.

I'm here to sketch the rocks to try to get the lie of the land clear in my mind. Although there's a family resemblance amongst the rocks - they are all from the same geological horizon after all - they are all individuals. Most of the major ones have been given names. In the evening, the sun shining through broken cloud throws a soft golden light on a Dali-esque group. Different sizes, different characters, but still with a strong family resemblance, they remind me of a herd of elephants enjoying the last warmth of the setting sun. next page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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