On the Rocks

Once thought to be the creation of ancient druids, the myriad boulders, pinnacles and buttresses that make up Brimham Rocks, spoiled only by their popularity, still provide a unique and tranquil haven on a late summer's evening.
Evocatively named: Lover's Leap, Druid's Idol, The Anvil...The boulders themselves are rough grit, steeped in climbing history; Brian Evans' and Allan Austin's names amongst those to whom the earliest first ascents are attributed, swiftly followed by the heavyweights of the late '50's: Brown, Whillans and Eric Beard to name but a few.
It was their routes that I aspired to most, early in my climbing career, Picnic Variation (HVS 5a), an Austin route, being a particular favourite with its testing crack line and hanging corner followed by an awkward traverse on hollow holds before the sanctuary of Jabberwok's finishing chimney is reached.
The image above (taken in 2003), shows me above the slanting crack line of Jabberwok's direct start, making the delicate step right into the easier finishing chimney.
Recalling moments such as this, I wandered amongst the boulders and along the northern crags...
...through the thick bracken and birch...
...noting Whillans' White Rose Flake, a route of modest height but with perfect moves...
...and this prominent arch, unclimbed I believe, although the appropriately named, For Crying Out Loud (E2 6b) takes the first section of the arch before moving desperately up the wall to the right.
It has been several years now since I last climbed seriously at Brimham but it will remain a special place for me; it was here I lead my first climb, here that I lead my first VS and here that I first soloed a route of that grade.
Such were my thoughts as I watched another dramatic sunset above the northern rim of Nidderdale.

Comments