Friday 16th November 2007
Weather: Sunny and cold - cloudier later
Great Ayton - Roseberry Topping - Captain Cook's Monument - Easby Moor
( 9.5 miles )
Today's walk begins at the pretty North Yorkshire village of Great Ayton
From the village
green follow the road past Worthy Pearson's newsagents and round
to the left
- soon after the bend cross over and go through a metal gate in a stone wall
A clear path goes straight ahead into pleasant countryside . . . .
. . . . where sheep were grazing on this fine, chilly morning - the grass was strewn with fine cobwebs covered in the morning dew
ahead on the clear path which eventually crosses the line of the
Middlesbrough to Whitby railway (Stop, Look & Listen)
- the path then climbs gently alongside the field edge and uphill towards Cliff Ridge Wood
Negotiate a stile and a few stone steps to enter Cliff Ridge Wood - in late May and early June this wood is full of bluebells
At the top of Cliff
Ridge Wood is the now disused Cliff Rigg Quarry (closed 1973),
part of a whinstone ridge
which runs from the Yorkshire coast to the Isle of Mull, outcropping at several places along its route.
The extracted stone, also known as 'basalt', was used primarily for road building - many market towns are 'cobbled' with whinstone blocks.
Turn right for a
few yards then look for a steepish path up to the left which
climbs gently through the trees
- follow the path to the top then climb over a stile into a field. Turn left then go right alongside a wire fence.
Ahead you get a good view of the southern slopes of Roseberry Topping - known locally as the 'Cleveland Matterhorn'
Follow the path
alongside the fence to the far end then cross a stile and turn
right near a cottage
- continue down its access track towards Airyholme Farm
It was at Airyholme Farm that, as a young boy, Captain James Cook worked with his father for a few years from 1736
From the track enjoy the superb view north across to Roseberry Topping
(There are a few lovely photographs of Roseberry Topping included on John Patrick's 'New Focus' website)
Airyholme Farm go through a gate then turn left and follow a wide
the lower eastern slopes of Roseberry Topping
The shape of RT's top changes with almost every stride - go through a gate in a stone wall near the above sign . . . .
. . . . then turn right, away from Roseberry Topping, and follow a clear path towards another hill ahead known as 'Little Roseberry'
The path gets
steeper and is eventually 'stepped' with rough stone - pause for
a breather and turn round to enjoy another view of RT
- continue to the top where a gate leads onto Newton Moor.
Bear right and follow the track which runs alongside a stone wall and forested slopes on the right
A mile later, on
Great Ayton Moor, the track begins to descend towards a valley.
Ater a series of steep steps you soon arrive at the
popular picnic area of Gribdale Gate - you will probably see lots of cars parked here as it's a popular starting place for walkers
Go through a forest gate in front of the above sign and follow a wide steep track uphill
Just beyond where the track emerges from the trees, turn and enjoy the view (above) back towards Roseberry Topping
After another couple of hundred yards you arrive at the tall stone obelisk which is Captain Cook's Monument
The inscription on the monument reads:
'In memory of the
celebrated circumnavigator Captain James Cook F.R.S. A man of
nautical knowledge inferior to none,
in zeal prudence and energy, superior to most. Regardless of danger he opened an intercourse with the Friendly Isles
and other parts of the Southern Hemisphere. He was born at Marton Oct. 27th 1728 and massacred at Owythee Feb. 14th 1779
to the inexpressible grief of his countrymen. While the art of navigation shall be cultivated among men,
whilst the spirit of enterprise, commerce and philanthropy shall animate the sons of Britain, while it shall be deemed the honour
of a Christian Nation to spread civilisation and the blessings of the Christian faith among pagan and savage tribes,
so long will the name of Captain Cook stand out amongst the most celebrated and most admired benefactors of the human race.'
The views from near
the CC Monument on the edge of Easby Moor are superb - to the
south the Cleveland Hills are silhouetted against the sky
and on a clear day the distant Pennines are clearly visible directly to the west
The updraughts from the western slopes of Easby Moor make this a favourite place for hang-gliders to soar into the sky
Looking south towards Urra Moor (the highest part of the North York Moors) in the far distance - it looks as though a nasty storm is brewing
To continue the
walk, from Captain Cook's Monument follow a clear path in an
then pass through a gap in a stone wall and descend the stone stepped path towards a forested area
Follow the pleasant track through the trees for about ¾ of a mile . . .
. . . until it emerges onto a wide forest track
Turn right and
follow this track for approx 300 yards until it reaches a narrow
surfaced road - turn right and follow the road
which soon descends steeply towards farm buildings. Just beyond the main farm, on a sharp left-hand bend, look for a gate to the right
leading back into the forest. Go through the gate and follow the wide track ahead . . .
. . . enjoying, through the clearings, the odd glimpse of picturesque Kildale.
After about a mile
of walking through forest the track emerges onto the bracken
covered slopes of Easby Moor above a stone wall
- continue straight ahead keeping the stone wall to your left with glorious views towards the distant Cleveland Hills
The path eventually
enters another small patch of forest before emerging again above
old mine workings
- continue straight ahead across a stile soon passing a large area of gorse bushes - I love the 'coconutty' smell of gorse when it's in flower!
Beyond the gorse go
through a gate and continue along the rough path as it starts to
- 400 yards further look for a good wide track to the left and follow it past a large bungalow then over a railway bridge.
Continue straight ahead towards the buildings of Brookside Farm which you pass to the right.
Beyond the farm the
track becomes a surfaced road and soon meets a narrow, minor road
- turn right then after a further 200 yards turn left down a narrow track next to a house before crossing a small metal bridge (above right)
From the bridge
bear slightly diagonally right and follow a narrow path across a
couple of open fields
- go through a kissing gate and continue ahead passing a couple of football fields and a cricket pitch
The path eventually
reaches the village of Great Ayton near a cascading fall of the
- cross the small bridge, then turn right alongside the main road
Cross over for an ice cream at Suggitt's sweet shop! Then visit Captain Cook's schoolroom museum and his statue near the village green
The walk ends at Great Ayton village green where you started
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