For thousands of years, a series of rocks have been perilously balancing atop cliffs in Yorkshire, only for vandals to topple one of them in a matter of seconds.
Standing up to 9 meters (30 feet) tall, the Brimham Rocks are a prominent feature of the North York Moors, attracting thousands of visitors every year who come to admire the impossible stacked formations. Yet the National Trust, who manage the site, have revealed that five youths were spotted pushing one of the rocks off the cliffs, destroying it and another one that it landed on top of entirely.
The police are now appealing for any information to help them catch the people who were responsible, although they may be aided by the fact that the youths also left their names scratched into the rocks.
“It is just mindless destruction,” the National Trust’s Helen Clarke told the press. “It might have been fun for some people. Actually, it is just completely pointless and needless.”
The rocks have been balancing precariously after being eroded out of the Millstone Grit rock formation – which stretches across much of northern England – by water, glaciation, and wind some time towards the end of the last ice age as the glaciers retreated between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago.
Some of the formations are so distinctive that they have even been named by locals, although you may need a healthy dash of imagination to see the Sphinx, the Watchdog, the Camel, the Turtle, and the Dancing Bear gracing the hills. Regardless, many are now quite rightly furious over what has happened.
“At about 8.45pm on Friday, June 1, a group of five young people were seen pushing a rock at the top of one of the crags,” the North Yorkshire Police said in a statement. “This resulted in the rock falling, causing damage to the crag face. The damage is irreparable and the crag is now in a potentially dangerous condition.
“The incident has not only caused considerable damage to both the rock and the crag face, but those responsible also put themselves in danger and have created a potential hazard for other visitors.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that people have been found to recklessly destroy natural heritage that should be there for us all to enjoy. Recently, Red Fleet State Park in Utah had to issue a statement requesting that people stop throwing their dinosaur footprints into a lake.