Yorkshire Dale's Norber Erratics a perfect fit for region's pastoral grandeur - Picture Post

Picture: Tony Johnson. Words: John Blow

Picture: Tony Johnson
Picture: Tony Johnson

The Norber Erratics may be the perfect example of the rare sort of beauty that can be found in North Yorkshire.

Some of the 100 or so ancient boulders are balanced upon limestone to form their own wondrous shapes in the landscape around the southern slopes of Ingleborough and by Crummack Dale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

They fit into the Dales’ quiet pastoral grandeur as though by design, but it was a natural phenomenon that caused them to land in the region.

The sandstone boulders were transported to their current locations by a glacial ice sheet, deposited on the limestone shelf when the glaciers melted at the end of the last ice age, about 12,000 years ago.

However, the boulders themselves are ever so slightly older. They are said to date back to the Silurian period – about 430 million years ago.

It’s little wonder, then, that travel magazine Atlas Obscura describes them simply as the “finest example of glacial erratic rocks in Britain”.

Because of their reputation they are an attraction for ramblers and tourists taking in the Dales scenery.

Walkers often begin their journey to the erratics at the village of Austwick at the edge of the National Park.

People will need to be prepared for a moderately steep up-hill walk but once they arrive will be treated to spectacular views.

The erratics are one of a number of significant glacial and post-glacial landforms and features in the area, including drumlin fields such as the one at Ribblehead, moraines and the post-glacial lakes of Semerwater and Malham Tarn.

The park’s authority has warned, though, that climate change could have an impact on such sites.

Higher levels of soil moisture and more flash flood events could change slope and soil stability, creating the potential for more landslips and rock falls, meaning features such as the Norber Erratics may be more at risk of damage, says the authority.

Technical details: Fujifilm X-T1 with a 18-55mm lens, shot with the exposure 1/500th of a second at f13, 400 ISO.