Windblown stone

Still stuck at home… possibly for good now… I can still share memories and previous visits to places that have special meaning for me. Some, like Brimham, were magical, both in their own right and to the eyes of the child who wandered between the rocks…

X ilkley weekend 162When I was a child I was taken to a magical landscape… one of many my parents and grandparents shared with me; gifts I loved then, but have only fully learned to appreciate now, when I realise how lucky I was. Raised in the city for most of my childhood, I might have known only the pollution stunted trees or the green regiments of parks, instead I learned to love the forests that whisper secrets from hoary, moss-grown bark and the thick undergrowth where enchantment awaits. They read me books and wrote me stories… any tree could be the Faraway Tree, and Seelie, the water-fairy, might wait in any stream.

X ilkley weekend 072One of the places they took me was a stretch of moor in Nidderdale where the rock formations take on fantastic shapes and boulders are precariously balanced at heights of over a hundred feet. To those who know similar landscapes on the grander scale, this may seem paltry, but in Yorkshire, the whole place seems incredible… an alien landscape.

X ilkley weekend 114There seems little to be found on the physical archaeology of the place to the casual seeker, but that matters little. The surrounding area is rich in the memories of our ancestors, with circles, cairns and standing stones and Brimham Rocks standing high on the moor and offering an unparalleled view across the dales, could not have been ignored.

X ilkley weekend 173If it looks alien and fantastic to our eyes, with strange faces, monstrous forms and simulacra in every rock, how much more so must it have seemed to those who lived the land and held it sacred? Four hundred acres of these contorted and flowing shapes rise from the heather … dancing bears, sphinxes, huge heads and narrow tunnels…. Great boulders poised on cliff tops… or upon mere pebbles, it seems, defying gravity, balanced impossibly… Even we, accustomed to the world in all its richness of landscape through visual media, cannot help but be as awed as children as we approach the rocks.

X ilkley weekend 108Then there are the acoustics… a very peculiar quality of echo. It is said in local folklore that the stones whisper secrets from their soul. Legends tell, inevitably of the Druids and although that may be a bit of Victorian romance I cannot but think this place would have been held sacred by the Old Ones.

X ilkley weekend 178There is a wishing stone where you place the fingers of your right hand in the hollowed rock. There is a place where the echoes are named the Son of the Rocks and were venerated as an oracle. And, of course the rocking stone here too could only be moved by an honest man, just as at Ilkley. No folk history of such a place would be complete without a love story and Lover’s Rock reminds us of the young couple whose love was forbidden. Choosing to enter death together, rather than live apart, they leaped from the rock, only to be lifted up into the air. The father, who witnessed this miracle, gave his consent and the two were wed, leaving their story in the stones.

X ilkley weekend 202 - CopyFor me another ghost remains there… a small child who saw wood sprites and water fairies still wanders there, laughing in delight, her toes stained from the heather and sunlight making a halo of unruly golden curls around the small head.

X ilkley weekend 209 - Copy

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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68 Responses to Windblown stone

  1. Mary Smith says:

    What a fabulous place, Sue. I’d have loved to see it. To see it as a child must have been truly magical and unforgettable.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Beautiful and I have never been there….It reminds me of Cesky Raj (Czech Paradise) which is one of my favorite places here…. just NE of Praha.

    Happy Spring Quinox – I have some burning and drowning to do…


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on The Magical World of G. Michael Vasey and commented:
    Magical beauty in Yorkshire…


  4. This place must be the embodiment of magical, Sue. It is definitely pulling my heart strings!


  5. Jemima Pett says:

    Looking forward to going to Brimham Rocks for the first time in October. I’ll take you and Mary with me xxxx

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Pingback: Windblown stone… | Books & Bonsai

  7. barbtaub says:

    What lovely and sweet reminiscences!


  8. restlessjo says:

    Beautiful, Sue! So sorry about the enforced captivity. 😦 I was only ever at Brimham once. Phenomenal! I always planned to go back but somehow we never did. If I manage to get to the UK this summer I will certainly try to take my grandson by proxy there 🙂 🙂


  9. trentpmcd says:

    That would be a magical landscape for anyone, but I’m sure even more for a little girl “who saw wood sprites and water fairies”. On the other hand, I would think anyone who went there would be awfully boring if they did not see wood sprites and water faeries as they explored those stones!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Looks like a place I would fall in love with. I can see why it is dear to your heart. ❤️


  11. Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    Windblown stone by Sue Vincent.


  12. Jim Borden says:

    what wonderful memories…


  13. Beautiful, Sue. The stones are amazing as is the lore. And I love the presence of little girl sprite who felt completely happy there. So touching.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What an extraordinary landscape, Sue.


  15. What amazing memories to grow up with! Beautiful Sue ☺️


  16. Amazing! Thanks for sharing, Sue…


  17. Amazing the balance of Nature with some of those rock formations Sue. And i saw a whale and bear heads in one. Fabulous memories. Thanks for sharing.


  18. Widdershins says:

    May she always wander in such places. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. What a gift to revisit and share with us Sue. The boulders are stunningly balanced and take my breath away. I imagine playing king of the mountain standing on top and echoing… 💖💖💖


  20. I would have loved that place as a child; even now, come to that. I have seen similar features in Canada, but without the surrounding lush vegetation. Thank you for sharing your memories and photos.


  21. Eliza Waters says:

    What an incredible, magical place! Those balancing rocks are astounding. I can just imagine how it must have been like through the eyes of a child. ❤


  22. dgkaye says:

    Thank you for sharing your magical journey Sue. ❤


  23. KL Caley says:

    Oh Sue, how exciting for me to read this post, until a few years ago I was a local to Brimham Rocks and I loved it. Although my intentions for visiting were probably not as pure as yours as a visit for us always guaranteed an ice cream – haha. Beautifully captured. KL ❤


  24. noelleg44 says:

    Fantastic stones, Sue. For me as a child, my magical place was the tidal pools and rivulets that wandered behind the beach where I swam. I can see all sorts of things in those stones!


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