Exploring Whitby, Marton and Great Ayton
In Whitby, we stayed at the excellent Saxonville Hotel. The proprietor treats each guest as an old friend while maintaining efficiency; he has a wealth of stories and a ready laugh. He told us the story of the Endeavour replica’s visit to Whitby a few years ago. He is also the one who laughingly suggested a more fitting term for my husband was “Cook enthusiast” instead of “Cook nut”.
Whitby has many attractions for CCS members, primarily the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, and the harbour from which he sailed as a young man, and where the four ships used on his Pacific voyages were built. There is also the general Whitby Museum at Pannett Park with its dinosaur bones. It also has displays on Yorkshire’s famous Arctic whalers and maritime explorers, William Scoresby Senior and William Scoresby Junior.
John’s research group has studied Arctic whales for many years, and he notes that Scoresby Jr.’s writings on the bowhead whale2 are still of interest to modern scientists. I was impressed that Scoresby Sr. invented the crow’s nest. The museum has many examples of carved petrified wood jet, including an elaborate chess set. Whitby is famous for this jet and many items of jet jewellery can be found in the small stores in the city. We climbed the 199 steps up the east cliff to visit the old Abbey and St. Mary’s Church. And, of course, there is the famous Cook statue (and arch formed by a bowhead whale jaw) on the west cliff ―a wonderful, windy spot with fantastic views.
Marton, where James Cook was born in 1728, has the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Stewart Park. In 1736, the Cook family moved to Great Ayton, where we visited the Captain Cook Schoolhouse Museum. While driving around the area, we saw (from a distance) Roseberry Topping and the 51 foot tall Captain Cook Monument on Easby Moor. I recommend reading Captain Cook in Cleveland3 to fully enjoy their significance.
I heartily recommend that other members and family members attend a CCS meeting in the future and allow extra time to tour the area.
Dorothy M. Richardson
All of the photos are by W. John or Dorothy M. Richardson.
- See Cook’s Log, page 28, vol. 34, no. 3 (2011).
- Scoresby, William. An account of the Arctic regions, with a history and description of the northern whale-fishery. Two volumes. Archibald Constable & Co. 1820 (Reprinted by David & Charles. 1969).
- Thornton, Cliff. Captain Cook in Cleveland. Tempus Publishing Ltd. 2006. Reviewed in Cook’s Log, page 39, vol. 29, no. 4 (2006).
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 28, volume 35, number 1 (2012).