‘Mam Tor has inspired courage and determination in me’

Yvonne, Mam Tor

Reaching the summit of Mam Tor for the first time was a special moment in Yvonne's life. Not only was her journey to the Bronze Age hill fort in the Peak District a test of her strength and courage, it also reconnected her to the landscape she loved as a child growing up in Jamaica. Yvonne and her friends are now regular visitors, and the sight of the rich-green slopes and the quiet stillness of the countryside never fails to bring her peace.

Yvonne (centre) and her friends head out for a walk around Mam Tor
Yvonne and her friend enjoying the quiet stillness of the landscape
Mam Tor gives Yvonne a break from the city and space to think
On the way to the summit at Mam Tor
Climbing up Mam Tor makes Yvonne feel alive
Taking in the view from the summit of Mam Tor
Yvonne and her friends taking a well earned break after a steep climb Play Video
Yvonne (centre) and her friends head out for a walk around Mam Tor Yvonne and her friend enjoying the quiet stillness of the landscape Mam Tor gives Yvonne a break from the city and space to think On the way to the summit at Mam Tor Climbing up Mam Tor makes Yvonne feel alive Taking in the view from the summit of Mam Tor

'I felt like I'd lost Jamaica'

When Yvonne moved from Jamaica to the UK in 1990 she swapped a life spent outdoors in the countryside for one in a busy city. Setting up home in Sheffield wasn't easy and Yvonne found herself looking for places that reminded of her home in Jamaica.  'I definitely felt like I'd lost Jamaica because I wasn't surrounded by the landscape,' she recalls.

She knew her way around the city but the surrounding countryside felt unfamiliar and out of reach. It was only when a friend persuaded her to take a trip to Castleton that she found a place that felt like home and has remained special to her ever since. 'I'm in a different world. I feel alive and finally awake,' she says. 

Enjoying a moment of peace at Mam Tor

Finding 'Mother Hill'

Yvonne walked from Castleton, nestled at the heart of the Peak District's dramatic limestone landscape, through rolling countryside and along stone walkways until she reached the summit of Mam Tor. This Bronze Age hill fort overlooks the green slopes and the patchwork-quilt fields of the Edale valley.

Mam Tor, which means Mother Hill, had a profound effect on Yvonne. 'It's the hills, the pure beauty of the landscape, the quietness and the stillness,' she says. 'I felt like I was in a different country, although it was on my doorstep.' 

Gaining inner strength

Yvonne regularly takes friends and walking groups to the place she says has helped her overcome her fears, tested her strength and given her confidence.

‘When I was young in Jamaica, you wouldn’t get me up a hill. I was terrified that I would fall. But Mam Tor inspired courage and determination in me,’ she says. 

Not only has she overcome her fear of mountains that had haunted her since childhood, she also feels more confident about her body and what she can achieve.

'You may look at your body image and think you can't do it,' she says. 'I was afraid of not being able to finish what I started or afraid of falling.'  

" 'I'm in a different world. I feel alive, I'm finally awake."
- Yvonne
Yvonne encourages her friends to take up walking

Walking with friends

Yvonne's on a mission to share the sense of achievement and freedom Mam Tor has given her with other people who live in cities and don't have easy access to the countryside.  'I take it as my duty to share it with others,' she says. 'They've found it for themselves, they weren't forced but I have helped them and supported them in finding somewhere they may not have been able to find on their own.' 

 

Finding peace

For Yvonne a visit to Mam Tor is about connecting with friends, taking time out, and escaping city life. 'I can go and rekindle my spirit, then go home and reflect,' she says.  

'It's somewhere that I find peace, somewhere that I can enjoy being away from the city and somewhere I come to rewind,' she says.

'When I sit on Mam Tor and overlook the valley I feel like I'm sitting on top of a different world remembering Jamaica.' 

‘The landscape is just greeting you as you walk towards it,’ she adds. 'I feel I belong in the countryside and I’m no longer a visitor. I say to people try it and you’ll never be the same.' 

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