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. 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 🙂

  1. 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. 🙂

  2. 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. 🙂

  3. 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 🙂

  4. 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. 🙂

  5. A triumphant post, Jo, not least because of the climb. Bristol keeps on giving. You offer us an intriguing first view through trees, and then that superb looking-up shot, which I’ve saved to camera-roll to savour. The sandstone is lovely, maybe because of its familiarity in “old” buildings in young Sydney. I climb hesitantly with you, appreciating the stops, and then the wonderful views framed by windows. I have to say that after that glory, I’m not a fan of obtrusive Shaun!

    But I am a fan of the story of Cabot: I’m always bemused by the ease with which blokes (I wonder about women! Probably not) moved around hundreds of years ago. One of my daughter’s friends is Siberian in Poland researching a Polish anthropologist in her country in the 19th century

    1. You’d better not read Saturday’s post, Meg 🙂 🙂 I did think it the loveliest building though. Bristol is full of them! The Clifton area in particular filled me with delight. Still got Harbourside to cover and a little fun around there. No- I’d never have made a salty sea dog either 🙂 Thanks, hon.

  6. I love how the distances are measured on the plaque. The tower and its history are so interesting and to think you just stumbled on this. You must keep a suitcase packed, Jo. You amaze me. In another week, we take off for Prague, Budapest, and a river cruise on the Danube through Germany and Austria. Will be gone several weeks. 🏰

    1. Oh, but you see, Lynne- I haven’t been to any of those places you’re going to! I’ve never lived! (well, I’m trying 🙂 )
      I was really taken with those plaques too. I always do as much research as I can and then fit in even more. 🙂 Thanks, darlin’.

  7. I sure enjoyed this tour of the Cabot’s Tower, Jo. The tower itself is gorgeous, I love those little window disks in the design. And the views from on top are awesome.

  8. What a wonderful tower, Jo! I’m beginning to wonder if you ever spend any time at home. You always seem to be out walking, climbing towers, crossing bridges, gazing in shop windows, admiring boats etc. etc………. I suppose you only return home to write your posts. 🙂 Love the views through those arches, and yes, Shaun is so adorable.

    1. I’ve been home most of this week, Ad, and it does get boring 🙂 I’m alive when I’m restless (or writing about it is almost as good 🙂 ) This week I’ve been cleaning at Dad’s, washing, ironing, trying (and failing) to catch up on here, and collecting sea glass. Now what would you rather be doing? 🙂

      1. Collecting sea glass sounds rather splendid . I’m just about to do the ironing . I spent some time this morning over at the other house, sweeping up sawdust. Looks much better now. I’ll sleep easier tonight. 😇

      2. Ironing is a great incentive to blog 🙂 🙂 The sea glass is for a light installation at Durham this November and should be quite exciting. We had a ‘family outing’ to the beach the other day.

  9. What a beautiful day you had! Thanks for climbing for us. As for Cabot, I never cease to be amazed at these explorers courage and tenacity – would love to have seen what he saw when he made landfall!

  10. Great tower views OF the tower and OUT from the tower. I’m astounded to think I’m 64 and am only now, through your writing, connecting John Cabot (a name I’ve heard but that’s all) discovered Newfoundland prior to anyone landing further south on our banks. How is it that Canada us our closest neighbor and strong ally, and we rarely study about its geography, history or culture? I have been learning much more about culture and geography through Canadian bloggers, but now realize hiw ignorant I am about its history. Thanks for the nudge 😀

    1. Don’t beat yourself up, Sammy! I’m a couple of years ahead of you and I only had sketchy ideas about Cabot too (and those nice guys over there shared our Commonwealth- funny expression that- who was getting rich?). Live and learn, sweetheart! That’s what I try to do 🙂

  11. Well, it’s a climb I could never make….I don’t do the whole heights thing, so I thank you for giving me the views anyway! As for your Shaun, love him! Excited to see your collection!

  12. That little mischievous Shaun is very cute indeed! I love that tower and the views of Bristol. I know you’re not daunted by those tight winding stairways up, as long as there’s a view at the top! Thanks for sharing what looks like a glorious day, Jo! 🙂

    1. It was the best day for weather that weekend and it was by chance that I went there. I’d seen it on the Visit Bristol website (which is very good, should you ever be in Bristol, Cathy- nothing’s impossible 🙂 ) and knew that I would be passing somewhere nearby. With my unerring sense of direction (ahem!) I had to ask twice, but I got there in the end, and it was lovely.
      The Shauns are a piece of genius, Cathy. I never saw so many smiling faces around them. 🙂

      1. Someday I do hope to return to England, Jo, especially to Cornwall and to London, the Cotswolds and maybe Bristol as well. I bet you did see lots of smiling faces around those adorable Shauns! 🙂

  13. Sorry, I thought you meant last Saturday … so I have to wait for the flock. Lovey website Debbie has. Maybe I should join … I look up more than I look down. *smile

    1. Debbie is a whizz with a camera and a really nice lass. She posts loads every day- mostly short- but working full time I have no idea how she keeps up! I know she’d love your company, Vivi. Can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t! 🙂

      1. I have looked around in her world .. and she have been all over the place. Very good teamwork between her and her camera, just like you and me. *smile .. thanks for the link.
        Jo, flatter will get you … so fare with me. *smile .. thank you!

  14. My god …. I’m puffing. All those stairs … but what a view. Beautiful tower, a very romantic style .. didn’t have clue who Cabot was .. never heard about him, thanks for the introduction. Fantastic images … you and your camera provides. Shaun, very handsome .. but it looks like he been on the pub during the night. Have to go across and check the rest of the flock.
    Beautiful and interesting post.

    1. I do think the Shauns are a stroke of genius, Vivi. Sorry if I confused you over Saturdays- I can’t even remember what my 6 words were last week, but I thought it would be a good one to end on this week. I’ll have a walks post up next Monday, and maybe one more before I’m outta here. 🙂 Thanks, darlin’!

      1. Jo, it’s very easy to confuse me .. any time … of the day .. and any day. Now I have something to look forward to. I love Shaun, but sheep are not famous for being bright. *smile

    1. Amazing how much you can glean from Wikipedia, Peter! I didn’t know more than his name and the association with the Americas, so it’s a good learning curb we’re all on. 🙂 Thank you!

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