Sunday was one of those glorious bright crisp winter days so the plan was to head up to Nidderdale for some riding. The previous night a cracking curry had been made (even if I do say so myself) and discussion turned to bikes and art both separately and together which was a theme that reoccurred to me throughout the Sunday ride. My route with PB, taking a lead from the art side of things, was going to wind up to Brimham Rocks which were the inspiration for Clare Woods’ recent exhibition at the Hepworth gallery in Wakefield. Clare’s interpretation of the rocks in huge (up to 30m) vivid canvases are brooding and almost ghostlike and although on a bright day like Sunday the spookiness was not apparent I can imagine that on a different early dank evening they would indeed be pretty spooky. But before we could get up to the rocks we had a long climb up through some pretty tricky terrain.
On the previous night there had been talk of Richard Long and his land art and how apparently uses his bike to transport various bits of mud about from the banks of the River Avon, well I’m sure he’d have liked a bit of this Yorkshire mud. It proved leg sapping to get through and as the temperature was only a couple of degrees above freezing you had to watch carefully as where the sun had not got through it was still icy, rutted and very tough to ride and then you would suddenly plunge down into the deep stuff where a thaw had taken place.
The final approach to the rocks was through this beautiful gap which very much reminded me of some of the recent Hockney paintings from his latest exhibition and I could easily imagine David happily with sketchbook or ipad that he now uses capturing this view and it’s changes through the seasons.
Finally we got up to the stunning Brimham rocks, lungs hurting from the gulps of freezing air that I was forcing in but all worth it. What an amazing place.
An incredible flowing descent followed along an old pack horse track before arriving back in the car park as the sun started to dip and we rested some tired limbs. Feet especially were bitingly cold but once warmed up all was ready for a nice couple of beers. The talk of bike and art on the Saturday culminated with a hatched plan to see, if using photos of places where we bike, whether a piece of art work could be created that would do our experiences justice on canvas. Watch this space for progress on the art and bike project.