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Big Mac Millstones

Tuesday 28th August 2001, North Yorkshire

Brimham Rocks I FEEL that I'm probably missing a lot of wildlife as I concentrate on my current subject - the rock formations here at Brimham. Horizontal beds of gritstone cut by vertical joints give the formations their blocky character. Some, with their tumbling towers and scatter of boulders, resemble megalithic ruins. As the rocks have this built-in squareness I find it odd that some of them, for instance those near the tea bar, are almost circular in plan.

A young boy and his sister who have been climbing the rock behind me ask me what I'm drawing (not illustrated here).

round formation at Brimham Rocks 'If you were trying to describe to someone the shape of that rock,' I ask them, 'what would you say it looked like?'

'It's like a hamburger,' the boy suggests.

I've been thinking of a stumpy vase or a jug kettle, but I like his description better. I discover later that the particular rock that I was drawing is generally referred to as 'The Flowerpot'.

My guess is that, when the rocks start out as freshly eroded shapes, they're roughly cubic. If you knock the corners off a cube - through further weathering - you're left with a polygonal shape. Knocking off these corners in turn would produce a more spherical, or cylindrical, shape.

Bell Heather

bell heather While there are acres of Heather on Brimham Moor this is the first time I've spotted the deeper purple Bell Heather. A small patch grows by a moorland edge path. Once I've noticed it there I see it again, but it's not nearly as plentiful as the regular heather or Ling, probably accounting for a lot less than one per cent of the ground cover.

I stand on the millstone grit outcrop overlookingbat Nidderdale to the west. As the sun sets, the redness drains out of the high cirrus clouds. The half moon steadily becomes brighter. As I make my way down to the foot of the crag a small bat flies in a straight line across an open brackeny slope, heading for the trees. next page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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