When we first arrived in the North York Moors we drove past Roseberry Topping a few times on our way out for the day. Each time we both said we’ll go up that while we’re here 🙂
On our 1st day back we had taken a wrong turning and found somewhere to park for free from where we could walk up the peak; Gribdale Gate. From here we could also go in the opposite direction to visit Captain Cook’s monument. This was perfect as the car park sited on the main road has a cost attached – although I think the path is more straightforward and definitely looked easier in hindsight!
We thought that we were being clever but from our direction we actually had to cope with 3 ascents and descents. There are ‘steps’ provided in places but these are not particularly easy to negotiate – we were in awe of the young couple who were walking this in the pouring rain with their young baby on the dad’s back 🙂
So, yes, we had a rainstorm on the way up, but by the time we got to the top the sun was back out – very changeable.
The last bit up to the summit was particularly taxing for me, so I thought I’d have a little sit down – until I spotted the lizard that I was about to sit on! (I thought it was a snake at first..) I carried on 🙂
The views from the top were absolutely amazing so I’ve included this video showing them all around, plus a few photos on a slideshow.
On the way back we show a couple of blokes running! One of them had actually run the Great North Run the day before (to be fair he didn’t look as fresh as his mate!) We then saw them again when we got to the end – they were turning round and heading back the way they’d come! Madmen 🙂
A couple of days later we decided to have another go at climbing up to Captain Cook’s monument, which we could see very clearly from our campsite. I say another go as we had tried one evening to go up there from the site. Unfortunately we took a wrong turn and didn’t quite make it! But we did see 3 owls flying around 🙂 The route we took was quite muddy and uneven and also very slippery in places as it had been raining. By the time we were coming back it was also getting dark! There was a section though that was like steps naturally created from tree roots which I loved 🙂
Now, however, we had found the easy route up. We parked again at Gribdale Gate and walked straight up the path to the monument – you couldn’t miss it! Once up there we did have a bit of a nosey around trying to find the path that we should have taken previously.
In the afternoon we walked into Great Ayton hoping to have a look around the Captain Cook Schoolhouse Museum. On the way we diverted through a new housing estate (hoping to find a shortcut). There was no way through, but the estate was built from old buildings from a mill and it’s estate.
There were also several schools in Great Ayton; a Quaker School, a British School and the general village schools such as the schoolhouse that was attended by Captain James Cook. In part these schools helped to keep the Esk Valley trainline open when so many others were being closed in the 1960’s.
We didn’t manage to see the museum unfortunately as it was in complete darkness – we could only assume that there was nobody available to cover the shift (the museum is free to visit so must be staffed by volunteers).
In Waterfall Park you will find a pretty waterfall that owes it’s origins to the mills and also a red Victorian urinal (you can’t use it…), the only 1 left of 3 that the village originally boasted. This is all on High Green where you will also find a statue of a 16 year old James Cook, ready to leave for the lure of the sea (to an apprenticeship with a grocer in Staithes apparently!)
We continued on to Low Green where we found the 12th Century All Saints church. We discovered that the reason for there being no tower on the church (a feature that we’ve noted on several churches in the area) was due to it having been taken down. Apparently in it’s life it had actually had 3 towers.
There was a gent there who had been picking nettles and was busy making himself some nettle tea in the vestry! He gave us a lot of information on the church. He also showed us the gravestones of Captain James Cooks parents and siblings, most of whom sadly died in infancy. They weren’t actually buried here, but the stone was eventually erected as a memorial to them. He pointed out that monks used to walk through the church yard on the way to Whitby Abbey and showed us the route they used to take, which we then followed on our way back to the van 🙂
We really enjoyed our time in Great Ayton – the campsite, Fletchers Farm, was great, we loved Great Ayton itself and the surrounding area offered so many opportunities for days out. We would definitely recommend this as a base for a tour of the North Yorkshire Moors 🙂