Adventures at Roseberry Topping, following in the footsteps of Captain Cook.

Ruby the VW is parked up on the edge of the North York Moors, just on the outskirts of Middlesbrough. After a day or so at home washing and reloading Ruby and doing some online lessons, then a couple of days catching up with friends and family in Cambridge and then Newark, we rejoined the A1 and headed North as the rest of the country it seemed headed for the beach!

We arrived in Great Ayton at midday, our home for the night being Fletchers Farm, a Caravan and Camping CL set within a Farm complete with coffee shop and farm shop. As we arrived we got a tremendous view of the reason we’re here; the UK’s Matterhorn, Roseberry Topping. What we didn’t realise was that as well as Roseberry Tooping, Great Ayton is very famous for being the boyhood home of Captain Hook.

Our campsite looks out to Easby Moor which has a large and very visible 51ft Captain Cook Monument stood proudly on top. Although there are usually toilets and shower here, they are currently closed due to COVID but we are happy with just electric and waste disposal.

We stocked up on some hand reared pork loin steaks and sausages, along with eggs and homemade potato salad and coleslaw, had a quick lunch before setting off up the lane to begin our circular walk.

We soon passed a farmhouse where Captain Cook was said to have lived and worked and enjoyed five minutes watching the sheep dog and shepherdess round the sheep into a new field. Keith’s never seen this done before and was so excited!

The farm offered our first full view of Roseberry Topping; you can see why it’s described as England’s Matterhorn. As we walked closer we were trying to work out what gave it its shape, was it an old volcano, was it the result of a glacier?

We soon found on our answer on the National trust board as we joined the easier of two paths up. The reason it’s shape is as it is is due to a geological fault and nearby iron mining causing a collapse in 1912. The sheer drop below the summit is staggering!

The path up was steady going but didn’t take us too long, we enjoyed a few scenery stops (catching our breath) and before we knew it we were on the summit.

I had completely not anticipated the summit to be so darn scary! I consider us fairly experienced walkers, but my god; I was TERRIFIED! I completely lost my legs, went totally dizzy and had to basically sit on the floor in the middle and take a few deep breaths. I’m not sure what happened but it definitely wasn’t helped by all the kids up there running around- I’m not joking the edge was a sheer drop and they were running up the edge and back. Even Keith said “I can’t watch, this is an accident about to happen” The view was mighty, we could see all the way to the Sea and for miles into the Cleveland Hills and the Moors and despite being utterly scared stiff, I enjoyed it hugely!

I managed to basically crawl off the top and we took a different path down. This path is not for the faint hearted, and I descended mainly on my bottom much to the amusement of Keith and many passers by. Again, I feel we’re quite experienced walkers; we have decent footwear and have done Striding Edge, Scafell, etc etc. People were practically running past us on the way down – both up and down this trip and very rocky path- and we REALLY struggled!

Anyway; despite the drama of all of that, we LOVED the walk. It didn’t take us long maybe an hour or so up and down, and at the bottom of the hard path was the National trust car park and a little further down, a PUB! Perfect for us to sit and get feeling back to our legs! And an ice cream van too. Proper holiday vibes- who needs a beach?!

We made our way back to the site on an longer route that skirted below Roseberry Topping, through the woods and through a disused quarry racking up about 6 miles by the time we returned to Ruby.

We enjoyed a fabulous bbq and sat and drank in the views around us.

We may well return here as the village of Great Ayton was very pretty and there are lots of Captain Cook sites to see along with a schoolhouse museum, but time was tight for us this time… We have a date with Scotland tomorrow.

Until next time


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