‘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.
'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.
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."
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.'