This is Y Magazine 2020

Page 35


EVEN SOMEONE WHO IS BLIND CAN SEE A N D F E E L YO R K S H I R E ’ S B R E AT H TA K I N G B E A U T Y. I got onboard, trekking 220 miles across Nicaragua from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast was a gruelling experience. Scaling a 5000 foot volcano (stepping two centimetres to the left or to the right would result in a 2000 foot drop), tramping through dense tropical jungle in temperatures of 40°C, was certainly a challenge, with crocodiles and snakes deciding amongst themselves whether they should eat you now or later. Pushing another traveller who was in a wheelchair and sleeping in hammocks was exhausting. Each morning I thought I can’t do it, I worried that physically I wasn’t capable of tackling the arduous journey ahead. I then realised it had to be power of the mind that would get me through and it then turned into the most wonderful experience. Work initially brought me to this great county I now call home. I love the breathtaking beauty and even someone who is blind can see and feel it. I’ve walked the Yorkshire Three Peaks (Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside), 26 amazing miles in 10 hours. I can’t physically see it but I can feel the wind on my face and I have incredible images of rolling green hills in different shades. Sometimes I think I have a better picture than a sighted person. It’s like reading a book that’s then turned into a film. The picture conjured up in the mind is often far more vivid than when you actually see the cinema interpretation. Returning from another far-flung destination, I recently headed to The Coniston Hotel Country Estate and Spa

in the Dales to embrace quiet relaxation, delicious cuisine and to have a lot of fun. Being handed a double-barrelled shotgun for the first time ever was surreal. As a blind person it’s crucial to listen to instructions. A helpful instructor explained the importance of taking the correct stance. If you pull the trigger and you’re not in the right position, flying back and toppling over is highly likely. The gun was loaded, I carefully rested it on my shoulder and I was about to fire. Luckily my positioning was bang on and although I was scared, I also had an overwhelming feeling of exhilaration. For my second go I relaxed into it more, but the jolt is powerful every time and the intense smell of gunpowder made me think of how life must have been in the past, hunting and gathering to survive. It may seem like a reckless activity, a blind man clay target shooting but with a sighted professional instructor to verbally guide and ensure I was aiming in the right direction, all went to plan. I didn’t know what an archery bow looked like or how it felt. It reminded me of a violin bow and I was convinced I was going to play music. Surprisingly, the skill of firing an arrow requires a lot of strength and I was relieved that my time at the gym had prepared me well. The bow has to be pulled back gently. My sighted instructor gave me accurate guidance, encouraged me to relax and the sound of the arrow whooshing through the air at top speed and hitting the target with such force is something I will never forget.

Opposite: Amar gets to grips with a shotgun and collects his arrows. Above: Professional instructors guide Amar through the experience. Below: Amar stayed on the beautiful 1,400 acre Dales estate.