Jo’s Monday walk : Captain Cook’s Monument

Captain James Cook on the village green at Great Ayton

Captain James Cook on the village green at Great Ayton

I still have Paris stories to tell and photos to share, but life moves on, doesn’t it?  Late Summer is the most beautiful time of year on the North York Moors and I’ve been there several times in the past few weeks.  I wish I’d had blue skies like the one above for this week’s walk, but we’ll have to settle for ‘head in the clouds’.

‘Where do you want to go?’ asked the long suffering other half, last Monday.  ‘Somewhere with heather.  Lots of heather!’ I replied.  And where do you find the most heather?  On the very tops of the Moors, of course.  So, strong legs needed this week, but I’m in the Algarve next week so you can all have a lovely rest.  Are you ready?  Come on, then!

This is our start point

This is our start point

I’m starting out from the free car park at Gribdale Gate, just beyond the village of Little Ayton. You have several choices from this point but they’re all in an upwards direction.

This is ours!

This is ours!

That's the target! The little spike above the tree line

That’s the target- the little spike above the tree line!

Always on the Moors you are aware of nature

Always on the Moors you are aware of nature

Beneath our feet the bracken fades

While beneath our feet the bracken fades

You're following a woodland trail and steadily you will gain height

You’re following a woodland trail and steadily you will gain height

There are occasional diversions on the edges of the path

With occasional diversions on the edges of the path

Your first reward- Roseberry Topping on the horizon

Your first reward- Roseberry Topping on the horizon

Roseberry Topping is an iconic landmark in these parts.  The combination of geological fault and a mining collapse in 1912 created its distinctive shape.  The link will take you to the National Trust website with lots of spectacular views.  Joe Cornish is one of my favourite photographers.

Looking back you can see the moorland trail you have followed

Looking back you can see the moorland trail you have followed

A memorial beside the path

A memorial beside the path

Ahead, the Monument

Ahead, the Monument

Captain Cook’s Monument is a 16 metre high obelisk, located on Easby Moor and visible for miles around.  It was constructed of local sandstone and has stood on this spot since 1827.  It bears an inscription celebrating Captain James Cook, who was born locally at Marton- “a man of nautical knowledge inferior to none”.

The heather stretches for miles

The heather stretches for miles

And miles!

And miles!

It is the most glorious sight at this time of year, and well worth the climb, which can be taken slowly, with frequent pauses to look back.  Many families with quite young children were making the pilgrimage, so how hard can it be?  I wasn’t so sure about this next activity though.

Getting the heart rate going is one thing, but.....

Getting the heart rate going is one thing, but…..

He made it- thank goodness!

He made it- thank goodness!

The Monument and Roseberry Topping in the same frame

The Monument and Roseberry Topping in the same frame

You can continue on across the Moors and down into Kildale in the next valley.  The total distance is only 2 and a half miles, but you would then have to make the return journey.  I was content to simply descend the hill, much more rapidly than my ascent!

There is a railway station at Little Ayton, on the Esk Valley Line, but I’m assuming you arrived by car.  It’s all downhill back to the main village of Great Ayton, where James Cook spent many of his boyhood years.  It’s a very attractive village, with the river running through it, and a good pub, the ‘Royal Oak’, on the village green.

You could visit Captain Cook’s Schoolroom Museum if you have the time.  I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t managed it yet.  I’d better make that a project for the winter.  I apologise for the sullen skies but the heather is only at it’s purple best for a few weeks.  As we drove home the sky began to clear, of course, and I leapt nimbly out of the car to frolic with the sheep.

He's giving me a very suspicious look!

He’s giving me a very suspicious look!

walking logo

As I mentioned at the start of this walk, I’m going to the Algarve today and won’t be around to post a walk next Monday.  I’ll be back the following one, 15th September, so if you have any walks you’d like to share, feel free to leave them in the Comments as usual.  I’ll feature them the following week.  Any doubts, click on my logo above.  It explains how I run Jo’s Monday walks. Till then, happy walking!  I’m off to put the kettle on and visit all these lovely people.

My first walk this week is from a lady you might not know?  Say ‘hello’ to Jill, at Jill’s Scene  :

Breckenridge, Minnesota

Drake takes us to lovely Ribe in Denmark, and climbs a tower, too!  Energetic, like me  :

Step back time

Amy has the BEST photo of a cross mother swan in this post  :

Zilker Park, Austin

I’ve always enjoyed ’tilting at windmills’.  Jude has the most beautiful one I’ve seen in a while  :

Tilting at Windmills

Some fabulous footage of the Azores from Cardinal Guzman, also joining us for the first time  :

Horta- Azorean Islands

Take care and ‘bye for now!


    1. Thanks a lot, Aquileana, and for the tweet too 🙂 Catching up’s going to be a long process. I’m off to see my daughter at the end of the month so hopefully I’ll be sorted by then!

  1. That was a fun walk indeed Jo. If you look closely you will see me behind the sheep. Must be why he is eyeing you. hahahahaha
    Great post and photo’s hon. It’s so beautiful there. 😀
    ♥ Hugs ♥

    1. If I didn’t still have my eyes and ears full of the Algarve, Sonel, I’d be chasing you across those moors! 🙂 I met some monkeys on Gibraltar that you might like! Hugs to you, darlin’.

  2. I love this walk through the heather, Jo. It reminds me of Wuthering Heights and Catherine and Heathcliff. So romantic. I hope you’re have a grand time in the Algarve. Can’t wait to catch up again once you’re back home. Hugs. xxx

    1. Hi Violet! 🙂 Sorry for my late response. The restless one has returned home and is seriously trying to catch up before tomorrow’s walk. Yikes! The Moors are beautiful to me in all seasons but especially in August.

    1. On a happier note, lovely lady, I’ve brought you back some owl photos from the Algarve. 🙂 Not so nice as the glass one, but cute. You’d laugh- my husband was walking around the market stalls looking for owls for you! Have I got him trained, or what? 🙂 🙂

      1. It really wasn’t difficult! The Algarve pulls out all the stops at this time of year. Free entertainment most evenings. 🙂 Hope you and Jeff are coping xx

  3. I’ve loved reading this post Jo! As a Yorkshire (via London) emigre to Australia I always love reading about my homeland and it has made me quite wistful (but then I love Perth too!). We’ve been coming back around March/April these last few years and I don’t think the heather would be out then? I do remember a pretty drive out to Whitby from my parents home in Harrogate a few summers back and the heather was everywhere – it was a lovely day and a beautiful drive. Have never done this walk but I will store it in the memory bank for future visits – one day we may make it back in warmer months! Lovely photos too! Hope you’re having a great time in the Algarve 🙂

    1. Thanks a lot, Rosemay 🙂 There are really only 3-4 weeks in August when it’s properly purple but it’s lovey up there most of the time. Not the place to be when it rains, though! I envy you Perth 🙂

      1. Welcome back from the Algarve Jo! We are certainly lucky with the weather here in Perth – the climate is beautiful 🙂 My daughter, Mlle, is in Portugal at the moment- she’s been staying in Lisbon and absolutely loves it says she could live there! She’s going up to Porto soon, then Spain, France and back up to London (as one does!) 🙂

      1. Thanks Jo so much for that – I’ll send her the link (and read it myself too!). I know she did a walking tour in Lisbon but she was on her own at that stage and she’s now joined a Topdeck Tour and is doing Porto with them (she found the walking tour a great way of meeting people in Lisbon and ended up pub crawling with a group of backpackers!). I know she’s looking forward to sampling the port too 🙂

  4. That massed heather really is something, Jo – and, of course, Cook is of particular interest to we Aussies ! Dunno about the effort required but: I’m not good with hills.
    I will WILLINGLY and HAPPILY accompany you on any flat walk … [grin]

  5. You described the walk beautifully and the photos I liked even more.
    The one of the trail where you gain heights is a classic composition.
    The ‘S’ shaped path leading the eye and the pines either side keep you in the picture.
    The thirds blocked in, in tone and shape are all balanced beautifully.
    Giving a feeling you are being beckoned along peaceful path.
    On a lighter note, I would have been tempted to take out the armed figure sneaking up on young James in the first photo.
    I am on another wonderful path Jo and it is all sunshine, _/\_

    1. Thanks a lot, Jack! 🙂 You weren’t going to ‘take him down’ were you? You don’t strike me as a violent man 🙂 To be honest, I’m not fond of the wicker soldier, who appeared in the village very recently, but I thought he provided interesting contrast and cause for comment.

  6. 2 and a half miles is no easy peasy esp. with bit of elevation and then you lingering around. 🙂 I love your biker shots. I always had James Cook in the back of my head as an explorer and that I would love to visit The Cook islands. Never really thought about his life back home so thanks for the tour, Jo.

  7. i started giggling when you pointed the destination ‘spike’ way off in the distance! the lack of sunshine did not provide the best spotlight on the heather, but it prevented us from having a heat stroke!

    how great it would be to have total surround/sound heather experience! i loved taking this walk with you!

  8. Hi Jo, I realise that by now you are probably off to the airport and on your way to the Algarve so I don’t expect a reply for a while. Enjoy the sun and relax! My walk for you this week is a coastal one, but with a difference. I hope you enjoy my walk on the wild side 🙂

    Your walk brings back memories of doing the Captain Cook circuit – from Great Ayrton (starts at the Cook museum) up to the monument and then across to Roseberry Topping and then continuing back to the museum. All in all around 8 miles and in a snowstorm! I wouldn’t do it now! But I may go and look for some heather 😉

    1. It’s all just a memory now, Jude! But a very nice one 🙂 We got caught in a traffic tailback on the way down and had to divert through Harrogate- nightmare, but we made it! (must have been the lucky heather!) Seems so long ago already.
      Thank you for the walk. I’ll join you as soon as I possibly can.

  9. ‘The long suffering other half’… I may have to steal that line. 🙂 Beautiful fields of heather Jo and well worth the hike. Cycling up there looks pretty tough. I’m always so happy to see the sheep too.
    Wishing you a lovely and restful time in the Algarve.

    1. It wasn’t totally restful, Sue- that’s just not my style, to my husband’s eternal regret! 🙂 But it was fun!
      We were a bit worried about First aiding for that cyclist. I’m a terrible nurse!

      1. I doubt you are a terrible nurse. A lot of it is in the caring and compassion and I think you exude those qualities.

        No rest for the poor husband? You do keep things moving. 🙂

      2. I’m all heart- he got to sit 4 hours on a coach to Gibraltar, and 4 hours back again 🙂 🙂
        Thank you kind lady. Bobs curtsey! Just don’t ever put it to the test, ok? The first aid.

  10. One of the things – and there are many – that I love about the North York Moors are the walls. I remember stopping so many times just to snap shots of them – and of course the magnificent surrounding countryside, and the sheep, and the….well, you know 🙂 Loved this walk and I have to say, what a handsome chappy Captain James Cook was 😉 I’ve always been fascinated by his story but, to my shame, had no idea about the monument. So now I know. Heather is so beautiful isn’t it? Always enjoy your ‘homegrown’ posts as much as your ‘away’ ones. Have a super holiday Jo…look forward to catching up when you get back 🙂

    1. I’m shuffling backwards through my replies, Sherri. It seems so long since I was gamboling in the heather! 🙂 Seriously belated birthday greetings to you and I hope you’re having a lovely evening.

  11. Lovely to be taken back to the moors with you this week Jo. The heather is a beautiful site.That is a very young looking Captain Cook, he looks so different to all the images we see of him over here. I went for a walk this weekend into a very interesting inner city precinct. If you have the time, take a look, but it is rather a long post this week so you might like to leave it till you get back. Enjoy your time away I look forward to seeing more of the beautiful Algarve when you return.

    1. I’ll leave it to look forward to on my return, Pauline- I’m playing beat the clock because I went out with my walking group for a short walk this morning too. 🙂 Thanks a lot!

  12. Thanks for the beautiful scenes of heather and for more stories about Captain Cook. Poor sheep…it was probably worried you had something to do with the red mark on its back.

  13. That glorious heather was worth the climb Jo! The shot with the silhouette of the monument and the lone man in the distance is moody and beautiful! Enjoy the Algarve 🙂

  14. This looks like a dreamy place, and I can’t resist but joining you :D. Wonderful, wonderful walk with spectacular views! I am linking my today’s post to your walk. Have a great time in Algavre Jo!!!

    1. Hi Paula 🙂 If you look at Smacked Pentax, who you will see in my comments, you will find staggeringly beautiful shots of the Moors. Much better than mine. He lives at a village called Ilkley- truly beautiful!
      Thank you so much for joining me! I just have time to pay a few quick visits before I disappear 🙂

  15. Love the bracken shot, and the heather stretching for miles … and miles. Cook country provokes thought – because of him, I’m a denizen of Potato Point now, with whatever identity I’ve got. He named the mountain I can see from my headland – it recently reclaimed it’s Aboriginal name. He’s pretty youthful in that statue.

    Enjoy the peace of the Algarve. How can your blog possibly keep up with all your venturings?

    1. It’s not easy, Meg 🙂 🙂 I had another, sunnier one I wanted to post to a glider station up at Sutton Bank, also on the Moors, but I just couldn’t fit it in. Jude requested this one 🙂
      Many thanks! I’ll be back!

      1. I’m very happy to see Sutton Bank too! Went along there a few years ago, and would you believe it, also in the snow! It was late November though, so understandable 🙂 Got some lovely photos over the Yorkshire Dales from up there. You are making me consider a Yorkshire holiday, but where to choose as a base…?

      2. I was just thinking about the Sutton Bank post and when I’ll ever be able to fit it in, Jude! Did you make any progress with the Sydney bookings or are you joining me on a house hunt in the Algarve? 🙂
        There’s a rather nice pub, ‘The Beehive’, not far from Whitby?

    1. My skies are nothing like as good as yours. I just needed a shaft of sunlight through the clouds, which I managed on Sutton Bank the week before, up at the glider school. Thanks for your company 🙂

  16. Enjoy your portuguese days, so I will sit here in Merseyside and observe the magnificent North Yorkshire moorland which reminds me so much of the jutlandic moorland from my danish region of origin but just much larger – agree late summer is so great at the moorland… 🙂

    1. I knew somebody would ask me that, Andrew, and it might as well be you 🙂 🙂 He was very recently erected on the green to commemorate the fallen at World War II. He’s made of wicker and is actually rather ugly close to, I think, but I won’t hold that against him.

    2. The village 2014 mark the deaths of all residents who died in the WW One – .”Willow Soldier” – to honour the deaths of all its 48 residents (who served between 1914 and 1918) over the next four years on the exact day they were killed, 100 years on… 🙂

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