True Yorkshire grit carved from mother earth

PIC: Gary Longbottom

PIC: Gary Longbottom

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The white cloud juxtaposed next to a wondrous blue sky would make this a pretty picture on its own, add this most dramatic setting and it becomes even more impressive.

The fist-shaped rock resembles some kind of giant sculpture carved from the earth and those of you who have been here before will instantly recognise this striking landscape as Brimham Rocks, in North Yorkshire.

Situated on a hill overlooking Summerbridge and Lower Nidderdale, Brimham Rocks are a series of weird and wonderfully shaped millstone grit outcrops, sculpted by erosion during the last ice age.

Balancing like circus artists frozen in time, the rocks stand up to 30 metres tall in places and create a labyrinth of paths through the landscape. As befits such an unusual sight these rock formations have equally intriguing names, so next time you’re there try and spot the Dancing Bear, the Smartie Tube and the Camel.

At this time of year the stark, barren landscape can appear even more striking and is an ideal place to blow the cobwebs away and help walk off some of that post-Christmas excess while enjoying some of our finest countryside.

The land, part of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is owned by the National Trust and generations of families and climbers have travelled here over the years to enjoy the soaring views out across Nidderdale.

The allure doesn’t stop there. Brimham Rocks were the inspiration behind an artwork shortlisted for a place on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square back in 2013.

Artist Marcus Coates created the piece, entitled Unmade Monument, as an exact model of the Eagle, one of the rocks here. They have also made some unlikely cameos over the years having appeared in a couple of children’s TV shows and featured in the Bee Gees’ video for their number one hit single You Win Again – a grand, if slightly incongruous, location for a pop song.

Technical details: Nikon D3s camera with a 24-70mm lens at 24mm with an exposure of 1/800th sec at F7.1 with ISO of 400.

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