You Might Think It Sounds Like an Enid Blyton Adventure…
Five go to Brimham Rocks, perhaps. And you’d be right: Brimham Rocks is an adventurous place, however old you are. The rocks in question are enormous outcroppings of stone, dozens of them, dominating a ridge looking down into Nidderdale. They stand up to thirty metres tall; primordial rivers (plus good old Yorkshire wind and rain) have carved them into all kinds of extraordinary shapes.
One looks like a dog; another’s been whittled away at the bottom so much it seems to defy gravity. Whether you’re a full-on rock-climber, or a two year-old with a yen for adventure, they’re perfect for scrambling up, over and through.
I’ve been there twice now, once on a perfect summer’s day, the other surrounded by freezing winter mists. Both were memorable, in different ways. The first time we hiked up from Pateley Bridge, a beautiful ten-mile round trip that takes you up the valley, and then back down along the riverbank. We ate our picnic sprawled out near the edge of the cliff – a bit too close, we discovered, when I accidentally put a foot wrong and sank up to my waist in a small crevasse. Surrounded by those knobbly, prehistoric megaliths, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a dinosaur.
I was there again in winter, on a freezing cold day where the mist never lifted. The rocks looked like something from outer space. But now our son was out of his carrier, and desperate to climb anything he could get his hands on. The sheer number and variety of the rocks means there’s plenty to suit all heights and abilities – though perhaps not if the parents are nervous. I lost count of the times I had to scramble up after him, ready to catch him if he slipped.
On that second visit, we saw a large grown-up family group, parents with children who were all in their twenties and had brought their own partners. Straight away, the sons started trying to find a way to climb to the top of the tallest rock (while my son looked on in awe). You sensed that they’d been doing this for years, maybe all their lives, and were still as excited as ever. It’s that sort of place.
About the Author
About Me & Mine
I'm a novelist, writing under the pen-name Tom Harper, based in York. I'm married with two sons, Owen (3) and Matthew (6 months). In my spare time I enjoy cooking, playing squash, going to the cinema and, of course, going for long walks.
Favourite place in the world:
The isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides. I've been going there for family holidays since I was 7 years old, and I'm still sad every time I have to leave. It's isolated, peaceful, beautiful and completely relaxing.
Favourite things to do outdoors:
I love hiking, particularly up and down mountains, or on long-distance treks. I also enjoy skiing, sailing, sea-kayaking, or just playing on the beach.