The 2024 Great Outdoors Awards are here!

TGO 2024 awards

We’re happy to see a few familiar names on the shortlists. It is always a joy to see people showing the benefits of getting outside in the fresh air, the awards have highlighted some of the people who’ve been doing just that.

The voting is now open here. There are 15 categories in total, covering many different aspects of enjoying the great outdoors.  From accommodation, pubs and cafes to outdoor personalities and campaigners.

Firstly however we’d love to mention the names of the three independent hostels that made the shortlist for best hostel 2024.

Elterwater Hostel

Nestled between the trees, Elterwater is a refuge for many walkers in the Lake District. Offering not just a place to rest up and plan for the next day’s walk, but also to meet like minded ramblers and share your experiences. There’s easy access to the wealth of routes around the Lakes. Described by the Wainwright Society as “a perfect base for fellwalking, with so many notable fells in the vicinity” .  Well worth a visit.

Skiddaw House Hostel

Hostel perched on the mountain side with heather in bloom in the foreground


Another gem in the Lake District, Skiddaw House Hostel is the highest hostel in Britain.  Accessed only by foot or mountain bike (3.5 miles from the nearest road), it provides the perfect off-grid refuge for walkers on their way to the summit of Skiddaw, those exploring the Northern Fells or others walking the Cumbria Way.  It’s well stocked shop and bar means guests don’t need to bring provisions.  A blazing fire, non-existent mobile signal and the company of fellow adventures add to the magic of this extraordinary hostel.

Forrest Way Bunkhouse


For for the tranquility of the surrounding forests,  the abundance of wildlife, the breathtaking scenery and access to superb road cycling and walking, Forest Way Bunkhouse takes the biscuit. Situated in the North West Highlands,  9 miles south of Ullapool,  the Bunkhouse offers access to some of the best mountains in the world, with countless Munros, Corbetts and Grahams on the doorstep.  The North Coast 500 passes the door and the Cape Wrath trail runs close by, (pick ups/drop offs can be arranged).

Other awards to note

While of course we do love our hostels here, there were several other awards that caught our eye. The walkers’ pub of the year gave us some brilliant recommendations for the hidden gems out there.

But more important than pints there were several categories that we thought deserved a mention.

Campaigner of the year

Inspiring campaigns that matter to walkers and the individuals who champion them.

Nominees include;

  • Access the Dales – a non-profit organisation making the Yorkshire Dales National Park more accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Chris Packham – renowned wildlife campaigner and broadcaster dedicated to preserving wild spaces and its inhabitants
  • Matt Staniek – an ecologist on a mission to protect Lake Windermere, Matt started the ‘Save Windermere’ campaign to stop sewage pollution
  • It’s Up To Us – a campaign by Mountaineering Scotland and the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (OATS) to fund the repair and maintenance of upland paths
  • Trash Free Trails – protecting trails and wild places from litter and connecting people with nature through purposeful adventure

All very worthwhile campaigns that are due recognition.

The Open Outdoors award

Recognising individuals or groups who have inspired people to head into the outdoors, widened participation, improved outdoor education, or encouraged diversity.

As we’ve always said the more people getting outside, experiencing the wonders of the UK, the better. We love to see people get inspired to do just that!

The Extra Mile award

Outstanding voluntary effort for the benefit of the outdoors or charitable causes.

  • Fran Pearson of KitSquad – the founder of UK-based scheme providing second-hand adventure gear to low-income individuals to boost accessibility in the outdoors
  • Mountain Bothies Association volunteers – unpaid work parties maintaining simple shelters in remote country “for the use and benefit of all who love wild and lonely places”
  • Britain’s Mountain Rescue teams (England, Wales, Scotland, plus Independent Scottish Mountain Rescue) – volunteers who are on call, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in any weather
  • Cave Rescue Organisation – based in Clapham in North Yorkshire, the team provides the cave and mountain rescue service in the Three Peaks area of the Yorkshire Dales

The Open Outdoors award

This caught our eye because Anita Kerwin-Nye is the person who created Hostelling Together, a collaboration of the hostel networks in the UK.  Thanks to Anita’s work we have greater communication and a friendship with the UK’s Youth Hostel Networks.

Be sure to vote. 




About Penny Macgregor

Penny is copy editor and loves horse riding, dog walking and skiing.