Friday, 19 July 2013

Brimham Rocks. Burn Baby, Burn.

The comments on the 'A Photo Opportunity Presents Its Self' found me thinking of Nidderdale and, more specifically, Brimham Rocks.

I was born about four miles away from this odd place.
In those pre-National Trust days the site was owned by a bloke known locally as Essy.

Occasionally, usually when the sun was out, Essy would sit in a small wooden shelter at the end of the track leading to the rocks and collect a small fee from visitors, I think it was about a shilling, for the privilege of wandering about the place.
Most of the time he wasn't there though.

The tribe I belonged to all those years ago would periodically band together and go bilberry picking at Brimham.
I would retun home with my hands and tongue indelibly stained purple .

For many of my growing up years regular motor-bike trials were held there.
Just try riding a motor-bike there nowadays.

I dare you.

During my heavy MTB phase I attempted to ride up to the rocks and was pounced on by a bearded NT jobs-worth driving a Suzuki 4x4 (olive green, natch).
He proceeded to give a lecture on the erosion caused by bicycles.
In my response to his spouting I used the word irony in the correct context for the first, and probably last, time.

A television drama, Tom Grattan's War, used Brimham Rocks for some scenes.
Through the magic of television the protagonists would run past the rocks and down to the beach and restless ocean.
For a while, after the series had aired, confused visitors to the area would stop local inhabitants (like me) asking 'where can I find the beach?'
All us locals would reply by pointing to the East saying 'It's 70 miles that way' then, pointing to the West, "or 70 miles that way'.

Oh, how we laughed one and all in those far off days.

Incidentally, during the filming of Tom Grattan's War, my Granny was put in a flat spin on seeing an unannounced platoon of WW 1 soldiers marching past her *isolated cottage on Stripe Lane.
For a moment she believed the boys had finally made it home.
She enjoyed the series though.

I've witnessed some amazing feats of climbing at Brimham.
More often than not by a guy called Wally.
I would watch carefully where he found hand and foot holds as he danced up the rock face.
When I went for the same holds they seemed to have vanished.

I wonder what happened to Wally?
(I'm not in a rush to find out BTW).

This brings me to one of the reasons for this post.

Mr. Banished mentioned that some scenes from one of The Omen films were shot there.
This reminded me of Burn.

Burn, how can I put this in way that will neither offend anyone, living or dead, or leave me open to being sued?
Burn spent a good proportion of his waking hours either chemically or herbally 'refreshed' and, much to the amusement of those around him, lived in a reality somewhat removed from the actual fact.
Not that we, his friends, were 'unrefreshed' it's just Burn took it to another level, and stayed there.

I am slumped a squalid bed-sit, not mine I hasten to add, I lived in a proper house with windows and running water.
Others, like me, but unlike me, are also slumped around the room.
We were digging Rip Rig & Panic maaaannnn.

The door burst open causing the occupants of the room to dash in headlong animation for the various precious wraps and bags they'd invested their disposable income on.
Bad move BTW.
Leave your stash exactly where it is if you find yourself visited by the redoubtable forces of law and order.
'What, me officer? No, I have no illegal substances about my person, unlike these drug fiends who kidnapped me and forced me, against my will i might add, to ingest their foul concoctions and perform actions so abhorrent to my nature that I shall spend the rest of my days ruminating on the follies I have been exposed to in this room.
Can I go home now, please?'

Anyway, it wasn't 'dem Babylon, it was Burn.

Burn is breathless with excitement.
He has cycled at breakneck speed (about 11 miles as the Burn flies) to deliver his news.
He'd just been to Brimham Rocks and seen the Bee Gees!

The room became strangely silent, all attention on Burn.

'You've fuckin' lost it Burn'.

I can't remember who said that, but it seemed to be the general consensus.

Burn insisted and insisted he'd seen the Bee Gees at Brimham Rocks.
Eventually, in the face of merciless taunting, Burn did 'loose it' and stormed out of the squalid bed-sit which, if memory serves, was actually his.

Oh, how we laughed one and all in those far off days.

One Saturday morning, watching SwapShop with my children, Noel Edmunds (I may be wrong, it might have been that Scofield fellow) announces the first British TV airing of the latest Bee Gees video for their song 'You Win Again':
Blink and you'd miss it, but the Bee Gees were most definitely at Brimham Rocks.

Some time later I ran into a very 'refreshed' Burn (pills by now, lots of pills).
'You were right about the Bee Gees being at Brimham Rocks!'
'Wha' dafuq U talkin' 'bout? Yer' fuckin' mental you'

This is the last conversation I had with Burn.

I don't need anyone to tell me what happened to Burn.
I know without looking.

*When my Granny lived there Swallow Cottage looked nothing like it does in the Estate Agent's ad.
It didn't have a bathroom or inside toilet for a start.


Banished To A Pompous Land said...

I admit I'd entirely missed out on the BeeGees connection.

Ah Happy Days eh? In the Beckettian sense.

Le Sanglier said...

I have to finish this post in installments. I have Friday Night Post Happy Hour Lack Of Focus Syndrome. I got through the reminiscing part and I really enjoyed it.

Le Sanglier said...

So last night I should have said, "I got past the FIRST reminiscence." I was able to finish my digestion of your post this morning. I particularly like the part where we get to click over to the real estate ad of your granny's formerly rustic cottage. Last night I was completely boggled about how you were going to get from interestingly shaped rocks to a Bee Gee's video. It was a GREAT story!