Roseberry Topping's Captain Cook connection

Portrait of Captain Cook by Dance, Nathaniel (1734 - 1811) © National Archives of Canada

Portrait of Captain Cook by Dance, Nathaniel (1734 - 1811)

Captain James Cook is the Teesside area's most celebrated son. The famous explorer and navigator is best known for being the first European to make contact with Australia. He was born in 1728 in the village of Marton, now a suburb of Middlesbrough.

In 1736, when he was still a young boy, his family moved to Airey Holme Farm just to the south of Roseberry Topping. For the first five years he was here he attended the local school in Great Ayton. The school is now a museum where you can learn more about Cook and his early life.

After he finished his schooling in 1741 he started to work for his father as a farm hand. It's during this time that he made regular expeditions to the summit of Roseberry Topping. These early walks are said to have given him the taste for adventure and exploration that were to stay with him for the rest of his life. You can certainly imagine that the views from the top might have led him to wonder what lay beyond the horizon. 

Cook eventually left Airey Holme Farm in 1745 when he moved to the fishing village of Staithes to work as a grocer. This clearly wasn't the career him and, after only 18 months, he left for Whitby to join the merchant navy and begin his life on the sea.

Captain Cook's Monument, a 16m high obelisk erected in his honour on Easby Moor can be seen to the south from the summit of Roseberry Topping.