Saturday, 18 January 2014

A tour of Great Ayton



Chances are, unless you are an avid student of the life of Captain Cook, you won't have heard of Great Ayton, a village neighbouring the North Yorkshire moors, and boyhood home of the legendary Captain Cook. Local legend has it that some Great Ayton villagers haven't even heard of Great Ayton, so I'll forgive you for your oversight.

The village itself is stereotypically Yorkshire; stone cottages, a village green, a river running through the centre, fed into by a waterfall. Ducks float leisurely downstream whilst horseriders trot alongside. Some businesses in the village have been going for generations, whilst others come and go. Welly-bedecked locals all greet each other, all with a backdrop of the Yorkshire Moors. In short, it's a real life Emmerdale. Allow me to guide you through the Great Ayton experience...

First stop is this Captain Cook monument (not to be confused with the Captain Cook monument on the top of the moors, or the Captain Cook statue on the village green - they are massive fans of Jimmy C around these parts). The plaque states that Cook "first spotted Australia near this point". If you're thinking there must be something in that there Yorkshire water that works wonders on the old peepers, think again. Captain Cook's house used to be on this site, and this monument used to be at Hicks Point in Australia, but the two were swapped as part of a centenary celebration.

Next up, having crossed the river via the footbridge is the village school, a very traditional and photogenic building.

Behind the school lies a small church, of which the graveyard hosts the grave of Captain Cook's parents. The man himself swanned off to Oz without a second thought for Yorkshire, but his family legacy remains.
 Walking away from the church, one reaches the high street, which is home to many businesses, from upmarket restaurants and quirky gift shops to a chemist, bank, and greengrocers. There is even a takeaway selling the local delicacy of a "Parmo" (more on which here).



To continue your tour of Great Ayton, click here.

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