I live in a wonderful part of the country, a place full of wonderful people and beautiful countryside.  However, there is a movement that is bubbling underground that has the potential to galvanise this sleepy side of Yorkshire and create a ground swell (literally) that can turn into positive action.  I am speaking of the Harrogate Rock Hunt.

This is a group of children and adults alike who are painting and hiding small rocks.  Sounds slightly silly when you say it like that, but in reality there is something quite powerful in this seemingly innocuous act.  It is bringing a community together, young and old, and potentially behind a social movement.

There are three elements as I see it.  Firstly there is the fun side of painting rocks and hiding them.  A bit like hide and seek, just with a smaller and less obvious opponents.  Secondly, there is the back to nature aspect and sharing both the outside and the poignant messages that can be found on some of the rocks (I liked ‘SMILE’ this morning).  Finally, there is the more serious social agenda to it.  A lot of these rocks can be found in an area called Nidd Gorge, a place of stunning natural beauty.  Here is a small podcast that I did this morning while walking on it, in it and around it.


As you can hear (through the breathlessness and poor audio) the area is a haven of beauty and one that should be preserved.  It is a place that is open to all and the nature there is stunning.  I have seen Barn Owl’s, Deer, Red Kites, Wood Peckers.  In fact the list is endless, however, the most important part is PEOPLE.  I have seem people, young, old, single and in families enjoying this and it is right on our doorstep.  There are development plans, you’ll hear what in the audio, and it is wrong.  So wrong.

So what Harrogate Rock Hunt is doing is getting people out there, getting them into it and enjoying it.  What, I hear you ask, has this to do with my usual content?  It has everything to do with it.  Nature is where true connection can occur, both with nature itself, but with people.  Connection is everything because it is the oneness of our existence.  We are connected on so many differing levels that to destroy a small part of what is around us is to destroy part of us.  To deny its importance is to deny OUR importance and any blindness to our mindless actions will slowly lead to our hearts turning to stone.

The painting of these stones may have started as an innocuous action and a bit of fun, but it has the power to soften our own hearts and minds, reconnect us to nature and in turn maybe, just maybe, galvanise positive change, thus leading to a healthier and happier future.  If that makes for more painting of stones that make people smile then I’m all for that.  Wouldn’t you be?

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Author Jonathan

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