From: Great Ayton
Parking: Great Ayton
Start Point: Great Ayton
Region: North Yorkshire Moors
Route length: 8 miles (12.8km)
Time taken: 03:17
Average speed: 2.4 mph
Summits: Roseberry Topping (320m)
Other points of interest: Captain Cook's Monument, Hanging Stone
Route: Great Ayton, Little Ayton, Round Hill, Ayton bank Woods, Captain Cook's Monument, Little Ayton Moor, Gribdale Gate, Great Ayton Moor, Newton Moor, Hanging Stone, Cleveland Way, Roseberry Topping, Newton Wood, Great Ayton
If you look closely, just south of Middlesbrough, you may find a curious collection of contours, forming a lonely, isolated little hill. It is this hill that serial 8,000m mountain conqueror Alan Hinkes once compared K2 to. His exact words, on spying the 8,611m monster for the first time was "it’s nearly as impressive as Roseberry Topping".
At just 320m high, Roseberry Topping may not be the biggest hill you'll ever see or climb, but it will certainly be one of the most distinctive. Some say it reminds them of the Matterhorn in Switzerland. Alan Hinkes obviously thinks it resembles K2 (or vice-versa). Either way, it's a magnificent hill, well worthy of a long car drive to reach it.
Using a weekend staying with relatives in Pickering as a springboard, we bound across the North Yorkshire Moors early on a late August morning. The forecast was ideal, sun and white clouds, the perfect combination to provide the backdrop to our day out. The Yorkshire Moors is not a place I'm familiar with, other than the excellent drive across to Whitby and the famous steam railway so I was eager to visit it on foot for the first time (even if we were right on the edge).
The walk to Roseberry Topping can be as long as as short as you wish, some simply park nearby, climb it and return; but that's not my style. Instead, the nearby monument built in honour of Captain Cook made for a untaxing 8 mile day out during the perfect time of year to enjoy both the flowering heather and the immense scenery.
We left the car in Great Ayton, the village where Captain James Cook spent his formative years. There's plenty of parking space available contained within a number of car parks. Being an honorary Yorkshire person, we left the car on the street, opting for a slightly longer walk over having to pay to park.
|The plaque outside the Schoolhouse Museum|
|Some tree-lined lanes accompanied out route to Ayton Bank Wood|
|The climb into Ayton Bank Wood|
|The expansive views|
|Our first view of Roseberry Topping|
|A steep climb up through Ayton Bank Woods|
|The path emerges into some wonderful moorland scenery|
'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 Cleveland Way passes the monument and it would be this path that we would follow northwards off Easby Moor, over Little Ayton Moor and down to the Forestry Commission car park at Gribdale Gate. Beyond that, after crossing the road, it climbs back up once again, this time onto the flanks of Great Ayton Moor.
|That view again|
|Captain Cook's Monument|
|The view across the heather to Great Ayton Moor|
|The Cleveland Way|
|Striking out onto Great Ayton Moor|
|A sea of purple heather|
|Some big skies here too|
|The wonderful shades of heather|
|The boundary stone|
|Some more pretty epic views|
|The Hanging Stone|
|Sara demonstrates the fact the stone doesn't actually hang|
|I couldn't help it|
|The path zig zags up Roseberry Topping|
|Busy on the top|
|Roseberry Topping's trig pillar|
|Sara goading gravity|
|The collapsed cone from below|
|Trees in Newton Wood|