It's a place, not an observation. But a very intriguing place it is, too, with huge, precariously balanced boulders seemingly defying gravity.
Nidderdale is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in North Yorkshire, bordering the Yorkshire Dales National Park to the east and south.
We decided to walk from Pateley Bridge on a circular route, heading for the stunning National Trust site of Brimham Rocks.
The details are as follows:-
Starting Point: Bridge over the River Nidd in Pateley Bridge
Length of Route: 9.5 miles
Total Ascent: 1,251 feet
Terrain: A combination of gravel tracks, fields and well maintained paths. Several stiles. Brimham Rocks is wheelchair accessible.
Parking: Parking is available in Pateley Bridge for £1.40 all day.
Refreshments: Cafes in Pateley Bridge, refreshment kiosk at Brimham Rocks (seasonal)
Difficulty: Nothing too difficult here, in terms of either strenuousness or navigation. A couple of steady climbs.
It was a beautiful, sunny, Monday morning when Big Col and myself arrived in the charming little town of Pateley Bridge. One thing was immediately apparent. We wouldn't be needing the waterproofs, dutifully stashed into our backpacks. There wasn't a single cloud in the sky.
But a walk wouldn't be a walk unless we were carrying something that we wouldn't need, whether it be sticks, tripods, gripping soles...
The narrow high street climbs steadily uphill, lined by densely packed, stone built shops and pubs. There were colourful flags suspended over the street, fluttering in the light breeze, over the heads of the good folk of Pateley Bridge as they enjoyed the sunshine.
We were suddenly faced with our first dilemma. Should we sample The Old Granary Tea Shop on the left, proudly advertising the "best scones in Yorkshire" or should we cross the road to The Old Bakehouse, which claimed to sell "The Best Home Baking in Yorkshire". (I assume that this excludes the scones, where the award appears to have gone across the road).
It was the Old Granary that won our hearts, with a lovely pot of Yorkshire tea and friendly service being the ideal preparation for our walk.
With our thirsts quenched, we set off up the hill, past an array of very tempting pies in the butchers and past what claims to be the oldest sweet shop in England.
In fact, the claim emblazoned on the window of the shop, just below a yellow penny farthing left over from the Tour de France, is somewhat modest. The shop is featured in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest sweet shop in the world.
Trading continuously since 1827, the sweets are still made according to 19th century recipes, boiled in copper pans - the way sweets should be made, apparently.
We pressed on up the hill and followed the road as it veered right. Just after the Methodist church, there is a sign indicating a footpath on the left, labelled the Panorama Walk.
This narrow path climbed steeply, past Bishopdale House and the cemetery. Lambs peered at us over the dry stone walls as we puffed and panted up the track. Soon, we were above the rooftops of the town and gazing across an expansive view of the valley, with the River Nidd flowing gently between the fields.
This path was formerly known as Nooking or Knott Lane, being renamed Panorama Walk in 1887. It once formed part of the medieval road for packhorses and travellers from Ripon and Fountains Abbey to Pateley Bridge.
There is a viewing platform, known as the Rock, which was built to commemorate Queen Victoria's golden jubilee celebrations.
Across the valley, on the skyline is Yorke's Folly. Built around 1810 by labourers working for John Yorke of Beverley Hall, he commissioned the folly during a depression to provide his labourers with work. Each worker was paid a shilling a day, plus a loaf of bread.
The folly was known as the Three Stoops. That was until a violent storm in 1893 blew one of the towers down. Thereafter, it became known as, erm, the Two Stoops.
I'm sure there are plans in place to call it The Stoop if there are any repeats of the violent storm.
The landscape of the valley was carved out by glaciers during the Ice Age, leaving massive tumbled boulders and exposed faces of millstone grit. There is also a royal connection. The valley also contains the site of lead mines which, in 1365, supplied lead for the roof of Windsor Castle, no less.
As we continued up the hill, we caught our first sight of bluebells, which would become ubiquitous throughout the day.
The route is well signposted, as this forms part of the Nidderdale Way. About 30 meters after the summit of the hill, we turned left on to a footpath as the road veered to the right.
The footpath eventually leads to another road, where we turned left and headed uphill again, before taking a path on the right that led behind a row of houses. At the next road, we turned left and re-joined the path straight on as the road turned left. At the end of this path, we turned right onto the road, heading downhill and then over a stile onto a path on the left.
On the wall beside the stile, we spotted the first sign of the day directing us towards Brimham Rocks.
The route now takes you through a succession of fields and stiles, past White Houses. We got a bit lost at this point as we turned right too early and ended up in somebody's garden, but they cheerfully put us back on the right route.
"You're heading for the rocks, are you?", a weathered farmer inquired.
"Yes. yes we are." I answered, unsure whether he was speaking metaphorically or not.
He pointed across the valley.
'It's that way," he said. "You need to cross a beck. But be careful," he warned. "It's wilderness down there."
Wilderness? Me and Col exchanged anxious looks, not seen since we faced the possibility of encountering mountain lions in Yosemite. We looked down towards the valley. There was no roaring or growling. Just the odd "cuckoo" amongst the high pitched "baa's" of the young lambs.
We walked through fields (wilderness) where calves where soaking up the morning sunshine with their mothers, not even looking towards us as we shuffled past. Further up the hill, alpacas were grazing contentedly, sharing the luscious grass with sheep and ponies.
The sound of lambs bleating was punctuated by the shrill, unmistakeable call of lapwings as they performed aerobatics over the fields.
We continued on this path until we came to a row of houses, where there was a footpath immediately before them, on the right. This forms the start of the final uphill stretch before arriving at the National Trust area.
We passed through a field of horses, most of which were non-plussed by our presence. One horse, however, headed straight towards us and proceeded to roll on its back in front of Big Col. Little did we know that he was about to discover his inner Monty Roberts. Big Col: the horse whisperer.
It shouldn't really have come as much of a surprise. Animals seem to take to Big Col far more than humans do. He headed up the hill with the little horse about 2 feet behind him. "Sorry mate," he exclaimed with a hint of sadness in his voice. "I haven't got any carrots and you're not getting my flapjack."
We bade farewell to our new equine friend at the next gate and continued up the hill. A stile to our left, which was not on our route, provided a beautiful diversion as it took us through a woodland carpeted with bluebells. We had a quick explore around there before clambering back over the stile and onwards to Brimham Rocks.
After passing through a farm, we came to another stile which provided entry to the National Trust land. As we had climbed along the path we had been able to see rocky escarpments on the hill tops in front of us, peering over the treetops.
We now crossed the woodland, dodging around the gritstone rocks which were scattered around the landscape.
We sat on top of the rocks and looked back across the valley, for long enough to allow Col to eat his flapjack. The views were magnificent, although the afternoon was hazy with the heat.
We circumnavigated the wall of rock in front of us and caught our first sight of the amazing rock formations. Caused by millstone grit being eroded by water, glaciation and wind, many of the rocks have formed amazing shapes and seem to defy gravity. Some of them are around 30 feet high and are precariously balanced on a tiny column of stone.
We made our way to the visitor centre and had lunch at the picnic area, surrounded by formations with the imaginative names of the Sphinx, the Watchdog, the Eagle, the Camel, the Turtle, and even the Dancing Bear. It's a fantastic place to visit and consists of 50 acres of land where visitors are free to explore. And, of course, its place in the hearts of any Bee Gees fan is assured, as it is where the band filmed the video for "You Win Again". Of course it is.
[I thought about referring back to how the Three Stoops are no longer standing at this point, but I thought better of it.]
We made our way to the main entrance to the Rocks and turned right, before joining a bridleway signposted for Smelthouses. This bridleway leads to a road, where we turned left before taking a further bridleway on the right, heading slightly downhill.
This eventually brought us to the village of Low Laithe, where we were able to look at the outside of the village pub, which advised that they were closed on Mondays. Instead, we turned right and followed a footpath on the left which took us down to the River Nidd, via a small bridge over a tributary.
The rest of the walk back to Pateley Bridge forms a gentle stroll along the banks of the river. It was beautiful on the spring day that we visited, with hosts of bluebells and brightly coloured wildflowers lining the river bank as the lazy current pulled the water along.
The track eventually brought us along past Glasshouses Dam, where canada goslings followed our progress along the bank, in case Col had any flapjack left. Sadly, they had as much luck as the horse from earlier on. I've spent 30 years trying to get food out of Big Col and I could have explained to them that the odds were stacked against them.
Soon enough, we were back in Pateley Bridge as the path brought us in along the riverside, just in time for a quick cup of Yorkshire tea before we left.
And, maybe, one of the finest scones in Yorkshire.
Just don't tell the horse.