Great Ayton

Six word Saturday


What a strange world this is!


One week you’re in Edinburgh, meeting a blogger from Cornwall, the next, admiring the beauty of Roseberry Topping on the North York Moors, with a blogger all the way from Australia.  When Carol (that’s The Eternal Traveller to you) suggested a stop off on my local patch during her whistle stop tour of England… well, it would have been churlish not to offer the lady a cuppa and a view, wouldn’t it?

Great Ayton seemed the perfect venue for someone interested in Captain Cook, as he spent much of his childhood there.  Carol had already been to Whitby, where he served his seaman’s apprenticeship, but Cook was born locally and lived in a farmhouse in Great Ayton.  It isn’t possible to visit Cook’s Cottage as it was moved to Melbourne in 1934, and reassembled there brick by brick.  Cook received 5 years of paid education in this village and the Captain Cook Schoolroom Museum tells the story of his early life.

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Cook was also known to have loved Roseberry Topping but, as this is a bit of a steep climb, we opted instead to hike up Easby Moor to visit the Monument to him, constructed in 1827.  The views are sweeping, across to the Topping and down on Great Ayton itself.

Of course, I needed sustenance, in the form of a very crumbly scone, but Justin Beaver didn’t seem to mind my table manners too much.

Thanks to Carol and her lovely family for keeping us company.  Wishing them a safe and happy onward journey.

It’s Saturday again and almost sunny.  I hope that wherever you are the weekend is kind to you.  I will be back on Monday for one more walk before I head south for a two week break.  Take care till then!

P.S.  ‘Strictly’ starts again this weekend and I can’t help but remember my good friend Viv, who loved it so.  And please don’t forget your six words!




Jo’s Monday walk : Lambkins and bikes!


Just before I made off for the Algarve I had time to squeeze in one last walk.  I’ve been to the North Yorkshire village of Great Ayton many times, and had not really expected to share with you another walk there.  150 photos proved me wrong, and I think you might like to share one or two of them.  Who can resist wobbly, white lambs?

I almost didn’t get there because our walk leader’s car was sick, but I bestowed the walk leader badge on my other half, and off we went.

It was a bit fresh, and misty, but with the bunting flapping wildly, we crossed over the narrow bridge and headed up the side street out of the village.  More about the bunting later.  There’s a sign pointing out a public footpath, which leads between houses and a big hawthorn fence, round past the cricket pitch, over a field and down to a stream.  Are you still with me so far?  It’s tricky!

This is where you should end up.  Cross over the little bridge and you come out into a country lane.  More bunting and a bridge with a scruffy sign, pointing to Easby and Kildale.  You don’t want either of those options today, so proceed gently uphill past Brookside Farm.

The goose, though handsome, is the honkiest, noisiest creature.  The cow, much more placid.  At about this point we were joined by a young ex-army man, out looking for fresh air and exercise.  Hadn’t he come to just the right place!  We chatted pleasantly along the lane.  The conversation was of Pisa and travels abroad, and I totally missed the fact that the farm cafe was open.  Not like me, at all! The husband was more alert but didn’t point it out till after we’d parted company with our walker friend.  We directed him uphill towards Captain Cook’s Monument.  A much sterner test for the legs, and one that we declined that day.

IMG_5109The daffs were everywhere, and a sprinkling of primroses too.  As we hailed the morning rider, White Cottage came into view, with a stunning fanfare of rhododendron.  The crossroads here lead down to Little Ayton, and continue on into Great Ayton itself.  Probably the recommended route for strollers but, if you choose to puff and pant uphill, you will find a footpath off to your left.  This takes you across a field.  If you’ve timed it right, you could be in for a real treat.


I don’t think I ever saw such bright, white, new ones!  One of the little fellas had managed to find his way out of the field, and away from the safety of his mother’s side.  He was scrambling frantically to find a way back in, while Ma looked on in exasperation.  I stood politely and quietly by, holding the gate just a little ajar for him.  I didn’t want any adventurous brothers or sisters skipping out to join him. But I need not have worried. With a twitch of his stubby tail, he was under the gate and gone, with barely a backwards glance.


For us, the trail led on, very muddily, over the railway tracks and back down into the village.  Where finally all of that bunting was explained.

The Tour de Yorkshire is coming to the village on May 1st, and the villagers were out in force, bedecking and festooning with bunting and bikes.

And I’m not done yet!  Past the cascades and along by the river, romantically trailing willows, still there’s more bunting and bikes to see.  I think they’re going to have a high old time on 1st May, don’t you?  I almost wish I could be there.


As we returned to our car, parked by the riverside, my husband spied a rather lovely magnolia.  I couldn’t quite get close enough for a decent shot, but I found a reward of a different kind.  A tiny raised gate led into the churchyard beyond.  I had stumbled upon James Cook’s childhood church, All Saints, dating from the 12th century.  In this lovely spot, his mother and siblings are buried.


If you happen to be in the area on May 1st, Stage 3 of ‘Tour de Yorkshire’ starts in Middlesbrough and races down over our beautiful Moors, ending at Scarborough on the north east coast.  Myself, I will be in Poland, but I might just catch a glimpse on the sports news. A map and full details of the route are contained in the links.

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I’m glad I managed to fit in this post, not least because it gives me the opportunity to showcase some amazing walks.  Where else will you find Korcula, the Shropshire Hills and Katmandu, all on the same page?  Please don’t miss any of them.  Huge thanks to all my contributors, and to all of you for your patience in my absence.

I’m going to have to take liberties again, because very early on Thursday I’m off to Poland with Dad.  I don’t return until 12th May and will have only limited internet access whilst there.  If you would like to share a walk in the meantime, you’re very welcome to do so. Details are, as always, on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo above.


If I had to shortlist places to see before I finally vanish, Hawaii might well be on it.  You will enjoy this!

My weekly ramble

And just to totally convince you, Carol’s taking us to a waterfall :

Manoa Falls

Geoff took me to familiar and much loved haunts with this walk :

G is for the Greenwich#atozchallenge 

Becky gave me the gentlest of nudges before I set off for the Algarve.  Isn’t this walking bliss?

On the trail of Nightingales

Anabel finds the loveliest chateau, and a little bit of mud!


Shakespearean sonnets make for an interesting garden stroll with Trav Trails :

Sonnets and Flowers

And Jackie is out looking for signs of Spring in Toronto :

A Walk along the Humber

Another walk I’d really love to take for myself one day.  Say hello to the folks on this lovely island :

Top Views of Korcula- Walking Route

I love a walk that’s a bit different, and Karen provides exactly that!

The Goods Line

While Gilly takes us for a lunch time romp among the bluebells :

A lunchtime escape

Seriously good ‘value for money’ from Denzil, with a city walk and boat trip too :

How to spend a day in Ghent

A lovely welcome home arrived from Susan.  So like one of my own Tavira beach walks :

Rock Walk 2

And what can you say about Tish?  An astoundingly beautiful return visit for me, which I thoroughly enjoyed :

Happy Earth Day from the Shropshire Hills, some of the world’s Oldest Rock Formations :

I would not have believed it possible to have so much delight on a homecoming.  My cup runneth over, Badfish!

Last Supper in Katmandu

So there we have it, for a couple of weeks.  I have some lovely Algarve walks to share with you, but they’ll have to wait for a little while.  I might try to schedule a post for May 9th, the Monday before I come home, but it would probably be more sensible to wait until 16th.  In the meantime, I will visit and share as much as I can.  Do look after yourselves, won’t you?  And very happy walking!


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!

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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!