Thursday, 5 May 2016

Iconic Roseberry Topping And Captain Cooks Monument Walk - Great Ayton

One of my favourite Cleveland Way walks. We start in Great Ayton, enjoy an exhilarating climb up Roseberry Topping and then onto Captain Cook's monument. The views are spectacular, so pick a day with great visibility.

Despite heavy recent rainfall we found the ground forgiving, only through forest tracks had we to endure mud and slippery terrain...of which were few and far between. It took us just shy of 3 hours 15 minutes to complete the 7 miles including a short lunch break. But be sure to allow more time, this is a walk with views and it would be a shame to feel rushed...

Iconic Roseberry Topping And Captain Cook's Monument Walking Route

Starting point: Great Ayton visitors centre car park, nearest postcode TS9 6BW
Distance: 6.7 miles
Time: 3 hours to 3hrs 30 mins
Highest point: 322 meters
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Terrain: Mostly good, hard underfoot. Man made paths and tracks.
GPX Route: Download here

Below is a map of the route, its fully interactive. If you download ViewRanger simply click 'view route in full..' and from there 'get this route' and enjoy. You can sync to your phone app and just follow the route with no stress or navigation. Alternatively download the GPX route to upload and use with other apps. Further down you can see photography and at the bottom in depth directions.

Photography & Blog

For some time I meant to get out with my Dad for a proper walk around the North Yorkshire Moors. Another prompt reminder and promise of a bank holiday weekend pulled me into action, but where to go. I wanted something with a view, climb and more than just countryside, the Cleveland Way and Roseberry Topping should fit the bill, adding Captain Cook's monument takes the walk from a measly 2 or 3 miles to almost 7.

The 1 hour drive soon turned into two due to a rather irritating diversion within 8 miles of Great Ayton. You know, the type that says diversion but fails to include an ACTUAL diversion! Bumping along through tight, winding roads between the moors and hills was not my idea of a good start, in a brand new car might I add. Anyway, we started the walk from Great Ayton tourist centre at around 2pm.

After negotiating a busy bank holiday town centre we found our way through streets to the public footpath and woods. One week of heavy rain left the track muddy and slippery, but this was short lived as we left the trees behind for a well trodden route toward the iconic Roseberry Topping.

The higher we got the more breathtaking the view became, the sun was out, visibility great and clouds made for an almost moody feel to my photography.

My Dad has a chocolate Labrador, not the one pictured below, this old fella was shy and timid, the complete opposite of my parents little terror. But the amount of dogs on this walk made us think it was a little unfair to leave the aptly named 'Cocoa' at home.

The path up to Roseberry Topping is well laid and makes the whole experience of hauling uphill pleasant. While the path is well maintained I'd like to grab the idiots that defaced the summit marker. Some people have no respect.

We took a pew on the summit crest and enjoyed the view with a spot of lunch, or chocolate to be more exact. Can you see the black bottle by my Dad's side? I'm certain that is the same 'Tango' container hes had for about 8 years! Nothing if not resourceful.

Below is what walking is all about, just look at that view. I can't think of many better resting points around the North Yorkshire Moors.

Proceeding along the spine of Roseberry Topping we started our descent to the Cleveland Way. Not sure why we fell back on the map so many times, this is the easiest part to navigate.

With the sun and clouds putting on a show I couldn't help but appreciate the view, for what could have been showers we were blessed with cracking weather. The pictures below show our gradual progress away from Roseberry Topping and toward the next iconic stop off, Captain Cook's monument.

Some time later we reached a main road, crossed over and followed between trees. A number of tourists were gathered here, next to a well placed car park. Captain Cook's monument must be just ahead.

As our steps evened out and the ground became level the lone figure of a tribute to one of Englands great explorers came into view. Stood prominent in the landscape, Captain Cook's monument, one a few I hope to visit.

After 10 minutes observation and an explanation from Smith senior on what the metal strip running up Captain Cook's monument was for, we assessed the way back.

I found it quite strange throughout how the 'touristy' attractions such as a monument or topping are over crowded, but the best bits along the Cleveland Way bared not a single sole. Great for us I guess. With one last glance at the view we made tracks back to Great Ayton.

Shortly after the ground leveled out and with it the treeline disappeared we were back in civilization, walking along a tarmac road to the visitors centre.

This is definitely one of my favourite walks and one that does inspire the thought of a Cleveland Way backpacking holiday. I don't know when but I WILL walk the Cleveland Way in one foul swoop.

Route Directions

  1. Starting from Great Ayton visitors centre, follow Newton Road which sweeps round to the left.
  2. At the round-a-bout turn right following Roseberry Crescent. This domestic street continues for some time. After taking a sharp(ish) left bend keep one eye out for house number 55. Opposite this is a public footpath off to the right.
  3. Follow this track through the field to a train line. Turn left and follow a wooded path, cross bridge over the train line.
  4. The track bares right, continue straight up through the trees.
  5. This wooded path forks a number of times, keep taking the left fork until you see a field gate on your left, ignore this and continue to the end of this wooded trail where you will turn right up a stone path.
  6. Continue ascent to Roseberry Topping.
  7. Drop down the spine of Roseberry Topping and follow the Cleveland Way. After some time pass through a gate and continue along track with stone wall to your right.
  8. After a while you should find some steps leading down to a car park and woods. Descend, cross road and then make your way up track through woods on other side. This leads to Captain Cook's monument.
  9. Turn right at the monument heading to old stone gate posts. At fork bare left down to the woods.
  10. Leaving woods behind cross over track and carry straight on until turning right onto bridleway.
  11. At cross roads turn left, follow Dikes road onto Station road and over bridge.
  12. Continue until round-a-bout, turn right and follow road until you arrive at the tourist information centre.
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