It has been a tough summer for all accommodation businesses, but the worse effected are hostels and bunkhouses. Over two thirds of our accommodation has now reopened and you can support them by booking a stay this autumn or winter.
Reading, dreaming and planning holidays with your friends has got to be good for the spirits. Read on to claim your copy of the Independent Hostel Guide (available free during the Coronovirus lockdown).
Adelina Patti made Craig Y Nos Castle into her lavish home. Although nearly forgotten now, in her time Adelina was the worlds first celebrity. Latter the castle became a TB hospital. It is now an idyllic wedding venue and has a great value bunkhouse in the old nurses accommodation. A history tour of the castle is run every morning and if you are staying in the bunkhouse you can join the tour for free.
We all go to booking sites for accommodation, however I add another step and I think you should too… I use the booking sites to find suitable available accommodation, then I google the accommodations name, look past all the Ads and I place my booking direct. This has led to some startling results over the years.
Here is the story of Tip the dog, who stayed for 104 days with the frozen corpse of her master on the hills above the Derwent Dams. Joseph Tagg, the shepherd who got caught out on the moors, used to stay occasionally in a lean-to at the end of the old barn on Lockerbrook Farm. The barn was demolished in the 1970s, but last month one of Lockerbrook’s volunteers rescued a little stone drinking trough and returned it to Lockerbrook to mark the 65th anniversary of the discovery Tip alive and by her masters side. If you bring a group to stay at Lockerbrook Outdoor Centre you can visit Tips grave and sleep in a room named after the loyal collie.
Ty’n Cornel hostel has welcomed walkers, cyclists and other visitors since 1967. Since 2007 it has been operated entirely by volunteers through Elenydd Wilderness Hostels, a charitable trust.
A story of a local landmark and the attempt to save it. The Lonely Tree was an iconic part of the community and the fact it was horizontal was not stopping anyone! It was entered into the competition to be Welsh Tree of the Year in the October after it blew over, and won! Then in 2015 it was entered into the European Tree of the year competition. This is a story of community endeavour, tenacity and wishful thinking. It only needs a Hollywood ending to finish the tale.
The Gower Peninsula juts out of the south Wales coastline, westwards from Swansea. It was the very first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is well know for the many beaches along its coastline. I have also discovered a handful of glorious castles , much less well known, but brilliantly adapted for visitors. This combination of good facilities and emptiness make these castles feel like a personal discovery, set as they are in atmospheric rural locations.
The North Norfolk Coast belongs to the sky. It is filled with coastal wildlife, salt mashes and picaresque villages with ancient roots. There are stunning seascapes, seaside towns and not much evidence of the hurley burly of modern life. That is why Deepdale is such a useful find, unusual in rural North Norfolk, there is tourist information, shopping with great food available, camping and hostel accommodation all in the authentic relaxed village of Deepdale.
Mull is a Hebridean island with few settlements and large areas of open wilderness populated by both rare and common wildlife. During our few winter days on the island we spotted Otters playing in the bright waters of a sea loch, Whooper Swans, Deer, a Hen Harrier, and a Heron, not to mention the free roaming sheep and Hairy Coos.
In 1660 the village of Eyam was stuck by the plague and went into isolation. When the plague was at its height villagers buried their dead in the gardens of their cottages and four of these grave remain at Bretton Hostel, surrounded by the meadows and moors of the dark peak. Bretton Hostel and the plague village of Eyam are a ready made holiday, with a world of interest and education in the very fabric of the village, gorgeous countryside to explore and comfortable self-catering accommodation.
I first heard of the Lincolnshire Wolds as a member of the YHA, hearing talk of the iconic Woodys Top Youth Hostel. It took another 20 year to get around to visiting this quiet and beautiful area, by which time Woodys Top hostel had closed. However I soon found, hidden amidst the beautiful countryside, other remnants from the iconic era of rambling that founded the YHA.
Following the successful Lincolnshire Wolds Walking Festival this spring, it’s now time to get your boots on for the return of the popular South Lincolnshire Walking Festival in October.
Stopping off overnight at Corran House Hostel, on my way to the Isles, it struck me what a simple solution they provide for breakfast, (read on to find out more). Part of a grand Victorian terrace on Oban’s waterfront, Corran House provides great value accommodation in private and shared rooms.
On a recent visit to Tarset Tor Bunkhouse and Bothies in Northumberland, I realised what a hidden asset a bothy at Tarset Tor is for two families who like to holiday together. Anyone who has ever had kids will know that the best times are had when the children have play mates and the adults can relax.
Hired sole use Elterwater Hostel becomes a huge holiday cottage with its own dedicated cooks and housekeepers. A house of your own in the stunning valley of Elterwater set among the Langdale Mountains.
Tremadog, Porthmadog and the Traeth Mawr Estuary are inextricably bound up with the 18th Century developments of James Maddock, Lawrence of Arabia and a legendary Welsh prince. Find out more about the legends and history of Wales.
I had seen maps of Skiddaw Mountain showing the lonely Skiddaw House 1500m up on the mountainside miles from any road. I have admired photos of this old keepers house it its isolation but I was still unprepared for my first sighting of it.
Dolgoch has been owned and run by the Elenydd Hostels Trust since 2007 and in that time many improvements have been made; the gas lighting has been replaced by LED lighting powered by solar panels, the new hot showers are similarly powered by solar panels. The roof was replaced and the track to the hostel from the road was resurfaced. Self contained less able accommodation has been installed. Here is the story of Katy Cliffe’s family holiday at Dolgoch in May 2017.
If I could only say one thing in this blog, I would say beware of booking.com. Be aware that the minute you list a single bed with them, direct bookings from returning guests and word of mouth referrals will start to come to via booking.com. You lose 15% and booking.com gets the upper hand.
Spread the word, tell everyone you know, the story of these valiant little hostels, still battling on, to provide peace and space for those who need it. Run by volunteers and compelled to leave the YHA, read the history of these two farmhouse hostels in the Elenyedd Wilderness. Then come to visit, bring your friends and your family’s and come to the wild Welsh wilderness.