LAY OF THE LAND

The 100 ton Rocking Stone

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The 100 ton rocking stone viewed from below

  The Victorian guide books to Brimham Rocks mentions a 100 ton rocking stone sitting on top of a high crag, which was said to be visible from Harrogate, 8 miles away to south-east.

 “Elevated on the southernmost range of crags, is a stupendous Rocking Stone, conjectured to weigh above one hundred tons, and visible even from Harrogate and its surrounding country. On the top are two rock basons, of a circular form.” (Linney, 1838).

  There are no modern references to this rocking stone, and it is not shown on any maps of the site, so for some reason it appears to have been forgotten. Several visits to the crags failed to find the rocking stone, which seemed odd given its supposed size and elevated position.

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Brimham3
Side and top view of the Rocking Stone

  In November 2022 a more determined search was made for the ‘100 tonner’, starting at the the southern most crags (Stelling Crag and Boat Crag) which are located west of the main car park. There were no signs of a large rocking stone in that area, while 100m further north there is an isolated outcrop amongst the trees, but its vertical sides make it impossible to climb to the top. The next crags, 150m further north, are known as the Cannon rocks, and climbing on to the top of this crag revealed a large detached block of stone with two basins on it. Jumping across the gap onto this rock found that it was possible to set the block in motion, although the range of movement is not large, it is still moving a massive boulder weighing many tons. Standing on the top of this rocking stone also provides a panoramic view of the region, and on a clear day, Harrogate would be visible to the south east.

  So this would appear to be the 100 ton rocking stone mentioned in the old guide books. It has probably been quietly forgotten because it is not easy to climb up on to the top of the Cannon Rocks, and once up there it is quite dangerous jumping across and standing on the block to try and rock it – especially in damp conditions.

  The final question must be – what does this rocking stone weigh? The separated block of stone measures roughly 5.5m x 3m x 2m (33 cubic metres), giving an estimated weight around 80 tons. A little short of the 100 tons suggested in the guide books – but they were perhaps ‘bigging it up’ to attract visitors.

Some old rocker



Reference
Holme, J. (1835) Leisure Musings and Devotional Meditations:
Linney J.L. (1838) An Historical and Descriptive Account of Brimham Rocks.

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