Captain Cook’s adventures on Roseberry Topping
Before he became a renowned explorer and navigator, Captain James Cook grew up on a farm close to Roseberry Topping. His trips to the summit instilled a spirit of exploration that would eventually lead to him becoming one of the world’s most famous seafarers.
James Cook was born in 1728 in the village of Marton, which is now a suburb of Middlesbrough. In 1736, when James was still a young boy, his family moved to Airey Holme Farm just south of Roseberry Topping.
For the first five years 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.
Roseberry Topping expeditions
After he finished his schooling in 1741, Cook 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 James a taste for adventure that would stay with him for the rest of his life. You can certainly imagine that the views from the top might have inspired him to explore what lay beyond the horizon.
World exploration and legacy
Cook left Airey Holme Farm in 1745, when he moved to the fishing village of Staithes to work as a grocer. But this clearly wasn't the career for him. After only 18 months, he left for Whitby to join the merchant navy, beginning his life at sea.
The young man would go on to command an expedition to explore the Pacific Ocean. He and the crew of the HMS Endeavour became the first recorded Europeans to land on Australia’s eastern coast.
He remains Teesside’s most famous son, and you can see Captain Cook's Monument – the 16 metre high obelisk erected in his honour on Easby Moor – from the summit of Roseberry Topping.
Discover what you can do around Roseberry Topping, from climbing the hill itself to seeing geological formations at Cliff Rigg Quarry and spotting wildlife such as roe deer.