Last Week’s Shoot – Brimham Moor

Rock Formation on Brimham Moor

After the previous week’s somewhat tricky conditions at Force Gill I was hoping for better weather for my landscape photography shoot at Brimham Moor (and Rocks) last week.  The forecast was for light cloud and low wind so I set out early enough to explore the moor and get some shots in the afternoon if some sunlight broke through, but if not I thought dusk would be good at Brimham Rocks itself.  As it turned out, the forecast light cloud was absent and I had a clear blue sky all afternoon!

Brimham Beacon Rocks in Nidderdale
Gritstone rocks at Brimham Beacon on the southern edge of Brimham Moor

I hiked up the hill from Summerbridge and decided to have a closer look at the rocks at Brimham Beacon first, as I’d seen them from the road a few times, so I turned down the footpath towards Maud’s Farm and onto the access land at the rocks – it’s clearly access land on the Nidderdale OS Explorer Map (298) so the two “no right of way” signs near the top of the rocks are a bit annoying (and false).  However, the rocks looked lovely in the afternoon light, so it was worth the detour!

Gritstone rock formation on Brimham Moor
Gritstone rock formation on Brimham Moor

From the beacon I followed the path up onto the moorland and cut back towards the road across the middle of Brimham Moor where there are more unnamed rocks marked on the map – some of which were quite large.

Rock Formation on Brimham Moor
Gritstone rock formation at Hare Heads on Brimham Moor

I walked some way up the lane from the middle of the moor before clambering up rough paths to look at the rocks up at Hare Heads, standing like sentries above the road.

Mushroom Rock on Brimham Moor
Mushroom Rock gritstone rock formation on the northern edge of Brimham Moor

The vague path (sometimes I just got lost in bracken and brambles) continued around the northern edge of the moor to the lichen covered Mushroom Rock which looked lovely surrounded by colourful winter heather.

Idol Rock gritstone rock formation at Brimham Rocks
Idol Rock gritstone rock formation at Brimham Rocks

There’s a more well trodden path from Mushroom Rock across to the more well visited Brimham Rocks area around the visitor centre – the path coming in above the visitor centre near Idol Rock, which is one of my favourites as it seems so finely balanced on its small plinth!

LLone tree clinging to gristone rock formations at Brimham Rocks
Lone tree clinging to gritstone rock formations at Brimham Rocks

I had a quick look at the nearby Druid’s Writing Desk formation but decided to pop back as the sun started to set, hoping for some nicer light on it, and headed down to the main area of rocks below the visitor centre, with the famous lone tree – which I photographed from all angles – and quite liked the shots from just underneath it with mossy rocks in the foreground.

Gritstone rocks lit by the setting sun on a winter afternoon at Brimham Rocks
Gritstone rocks lit by the setting sun on a winter afternoon at Brimham Rocks

By this time the winter sun was getting lower in the sky and starting to bathe the rocks in some lovely warm light.  A couple of climbers were out enjoying the weather too!

The Druids Writing Desk gritstone rock formation at sunset, Brimham Rocks
The Druids Writing Desk gritstone rock formation at sunset, Brimham Rocks

As the light was getting nicer, I walked back to the The Druid’s Writing Desk (also known as E.T!) to photograph it in the setting sun.  It looked fantastic, and I’d timed it just right as not long after I arrived the forground stones started to disappear into the shade as the sun got lower in the sky.

With the Writing Desk done,  I headed back down to the tree – but another flat-topped formation nearby caught my eye as the top of it was lit by the setting sun (see featured image – top).

Gritstone rock formations lit by the setting sun at Brimham Rocks
Gritstone rock formations lit by the setting sun at Brimham Rocks

The rocks around the tree looked quite different too as the last rays of the sun illuminated them.

Gritstone rock formations silhouetted against a sunset sky at Brimham Rocks
Gritstone rock formations silhouetted against a sunset sky at Brimham Rocks

Soon, the light faded off the rocks as the sun hit the horizon, creating nice silhouettes of the rocks overlooking the edge of the Nidd Valley.  With the sun below the horizon is was tempting to set off in the twilight on the walk back to Summerbridge, but I hung about for another twenty minutes or so to see if there was a pink sky.

Windswept tree silhouetted against a twilight sky at Brimham Rocks
Windswept tree silhouetted against a twilight sky at Brimham Rocks

There was a hint of pink just after the sun disappeared, but nothing very exciting – though as the blue hour sky deepened silhouettes of the windswept tree against the light seemed to work best, though the tree also looked quite good photographed from the other side in the twilight light – quite a marked contrast from the sunset shot!

Gritstone rocks and lone tree in twilight at Brimham Rocks
Gritstone rocks and lone tree in twilight at Brimham Rocks

To see all of the image from the shoot, head over to the Yorkshire Dales gallery on the website.

About marksunderland

Mark Sunderland is a landscape and travel photographer specialising in Yorkshire, England. He supplies licensed images, prints and calendars through marksunderland.com - the source for Images of Yorkshire - and also runs photography workshops in the Yorkshire Dales with Natural Light Workshops.

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