Cabot Tower in Bristol

Cabot Tower, Bristol

Cabot Tower, Bristol

Just in case you thought I’d been idle in my time in Bristol, I’m here to reassure you.  I was heading into the city from Clifton, with half an eye open for Shauns, when I saw a sign for Cabot Tower.  Curiosity impelled me.  Though I knew little of John Cabot, I invariably make a beeline for towers as potentially good viewing points.

Situated on Brandon Hill, this 105 ft red sandstone tower was built in the 1890s, to commemorate the 400th year anniversary of Cabot sailing from Bristol to discover the country that was to become Canada.  In a pretty park overlooking the city, I thought it the perfect venue for a Summer’s day.

It doesn't look too high, does it?

It doesn’t look too high, does it?

Just add this little bit on at the bottom

Just add this little bit on at the bottom

Rather a nice sentiment

Rather a nice sentiment

I could hear voices inside, and from time to time a head popped out on the balcony.  Nothing for it, I was going to have to mount those narrow circular stairs.  No, of course there’s no lift!

One more look, and up I go!

One more look, and up I go!

That wasn't so bad, was it?

That wasn’t so bad, was it?

But I can climb higher!

But I can climb higher!

John Cabot definitely appears to have been a bit of an adventurer.  Christened Giovanni Caboto (1450-1500), this Italian navigator and explorer was commissioned by Henry VII, and was the first European since the Vikings to reach North America. (believed to be at Cape Bonavista, Newfoundland)  He spent 15 years or more in Venice, acquiring the citizenship which would enable him to engage in the maritime trade, and then sailed in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Cabot seems to have got into financial difficulties in the 1480s, and left Venice, an insolvent debtor, to seek work in Spain as a civil engineer.  He was involved in a couple of building projects which did not come to fruition, and then unsuccessfully sought funds for an Atlantic expedition. Persistence paid off when he moved to London, and then Bristol, as the second largest seaport in England.  His first voyage in 1496 appears to have been aborted due to bad weather, but in 1497 the landing was successfully accomplished.

Time to mount a few more stairs.  Narrower this time but fortunately I can soon see light above.

And here I am!

And here I am!

The cathedral- another lovely buildong

The cathedral- another lovely building

It seems to me a fine memorial.  Savouring the day on top of the world, I reluctantly climb back down to earth.  The paths wind back down through the park and I observe benches and quiet places to sit.  Following a trail through the wildflower meadow, my eyes alight on a speck of distant colour.  Hooray- it’s another Shaun!

Meet 'From dusk till Shaun'

Meet ‘From dusk till Shaun’

Isn’t he handsome?  You can meet my collection of Shauns on Saturday, but for now it’s time to join Debbie on her Look Up, Look Down challenge.  Come and see.  You won’t be disappointed!


  1. What a magnificent tower! The first two shots are remarkable, Jo. You also captured the details of the stones so beautifully. 🙂

    1. I kind of had Debbie’s challenge in mind (awful what blogging does to us, isn’t it? 🙂 ) and I like taking these kind of shots anyway, Amy. Thanks very much 🙂

  2. Yet another reason to visit Bristol again, and soon! To think, it’s just up the road from us and yet I’m learning more and more about from your travels. Beautiful photos as always and such a gorgeous sky, cheers me up on this wet, grey Monday, thank you Jo. And always love the Shauns 🙂

    1. I was tempted to go to Bath for the day, Sherri, but I found so much to see in Bristol that there really wasn’t any need. And I still missed bits 🙂 This tower is a beauty, though. 🙂

    1. For a lot of years I would have regarded Newcastle in the same way, Gilly. It’s probably only since I got older and not very interested in shopping. 🙂

  3. What a beautiful and historical place. Excellent photos too Jo. Love that tower. So great to see you having such a wonderful time. Enjoy! 😀 ♥

    1. Bristol was full of surprises, Sonel, and almost all of them good ones. 🙂 Thanks, hon! Off to the Algarve soon, where Mick will largely focus on the horizontal. I shall have to go off hunting towers if I get bored. 🙂

  4. I am playing catch up; now a week and half since recent baby arrival. 🙂
    I love climbing up in lighthouses and towers, Jo. The view is always worth the time, calf pain and effort. 🙂 Simply captivating photographs, especially through the arches!

    1. With a new baby in the house, Robin, I don’t think I’d ever get caught up again! 🙂 They’re only little for a short time so go and enjoy. I’ll still be climbing towers and all that nonsense for a year or two yet 🙂 (hopefully) Thanks for your company!

      1. What you share with us is “the world,” not nonsense, Jo. Babies are a special escape, singing and baby talking. I never felt like my mind was turning to mush as a young mommy but I do laugh at my silly behavior as a Nana.
        Your gift is how you expand our minds, Jo. 🙂
        I like especially the recent views through the ornate metal decorative windows’ grille work. The shape of the curlicues added to framing your excellent photographs.
        I came back to say “Shaun the Sheep” is playing at our local theater and your rainbow guy looks like he stepped back into the “hippie” tie-dyed 60’s. So cute!

      2. I can imagine it being very funny as a stage show, Robin. 🙂 That bloomin’ sheep gets everywhere! I’m just going to play with a few at 6 Words. Thanks for the kind ones 🙂

  5. A lovely day for a climb with perfect weather. I didn’t know much about John Cabot, so I appreciated the information you shared about his voyage.

    That is one snazzy looking Shaun. Bet he’s had quite a night out. 🙂

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