Wanderer May 2014
YHA The Wanderer
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The Wanderer, Issue 16, May 2014
 
 
Walking Edition
 
This month we’re taking you up hill and down dale, exploring the very best places to walk in England and Wales. With so many properties set in such stunning scenery, we were spoilt for choice when picking for this edition so we did the sensible thing and left the decision to an expert. So, lace up your boots, grab your gear and join us as we go in search of some serious walking at the four locations recommended by Alan Hinkes OBE.
 
Don’t forget, you can take a look back at any of the previous editions of The Wanderer here.
Walking Edition Map  
 
Alan Hinkes
 
  Alan Hinkes  
 
 
Alan Hinkes OBE is the first British mountaineer to climb all 14 of the world’s mountains over 8,000ft; he is also YHA’s first ambassador. We interviewed him about his favourite places and best YHA experiences. Read the full interview here.
 
 
 
 
YHA Snowdon Pen-y-Pass
 
 
YHA Snowdon Pen-Y-Pass
 
  A trip to the top of Wales  
 
 
For anyone wanting to take on the challenge of summiting Snowdon, there is no better base than this newly refurbished Youth Hostel located over 1,000 ft above sea level on the mountain’s eastern slope. Reopening its doors in June, this property will boast a brand new café, improved social spaces, more beds and en-suites.
 
 
 
YHA Snowdon Pen-Y-Pass
 
YHA Snowdon Pen-Y-Pass
 
Steeped in mountaineering heritage, this place has hosted the great and the good of the British mountaineering and climbing set over the years – including Geoffrey Winthrop Young, George Leigh Mallory and YHA’s own Professor GM Trevelyan. Follow in their famous footsteps and make your ascent from here. Two walking routes up the mountain start from YHA Snowdon Pen-y-Pass; the Miner’s Track and the Pyg Track. Though no routes are without their dangers, the Miners’ track is the most popular route up, owing to its flat sections and breathtakingly beautiful views throughout.
 
“At the end of a hard day’s climbing, bring your weary legs and sense of achievement back to the hostel for a tasty meal.”
 
Whichever route you choose, once you reach the summit you’ll be treated to unparalleled views of Ireland, England, Scotland and the Isle of Man on a clear day – quite the reward we’d say. The visitor centre at the top, Hafod Eryri, has a café and gift shop and serves as the summit station for the Snowdon Mountain Railway which takes passengers back down to Llanberis, to the north of Snowdonia.
 
At the end of a hard day’s climbing, bring your weary legs and sense of achievement back to the hostel for a tasty meal before sharing your Snowdon stories with fellow adventurers in Mallory’s, our licensed bar.
 
 
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Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Mathew:
 
  1  
Watch in awe as runners compete in the achingly difficult Snowdonia Marathon, held in October every year.
 
 
  2  
For something entirely different, enjoy a day out at Greenwood Forest Park. 13 miles from the hostel, this attraction boasts the world’s only people-powered roller coaster – a real hit with the kids.
 
 
  3  
Take the 15-mile journey by car to Zip World and raise your adrenalin levels on the longest, fastest zip wire in the Northern Hemisphere.
 
 
 
 
YHA AMBLESIDE
 
 
YHA Ambleside
 
  Location, location, location  
 
 
Located right on the edge of Lake Windermere and with, in Alan Hinkes’ estimation, one of the best outlooks of any Youth Hostel, Ambleside abounds with gorgeous views and wonderful walks.
 
 
 
YHA Ambleside
 
YHA Ambleside
 
If you’re serious about your walking, it doesn’t get much better than the Fairfield Horseshoe. Beginning in Ambleside, this route takes adventure seekers on a 16-kilometre journey over 8 peaks and past a number of secluded caves. Its 1100 metres of ascent may seem daunting but a 360 degree view of the Lake District will be your reward.
 
For something a little less strenuous, enjoy the charming walk around the Laughrigg Fell towards Rydal, home of the Rydal Cave. The cave floor is under water most of the time (this is the Lake District after all) and is alive with small fish and insects which are easily spied from the outside. The second part of the walk, Laughrigg Terrace, offers one of the best views towards Fairfield Horseshoe. If you’re making a day of this one, why not continue on to Grasmere for a well-earned coffee and cake. We heartily recommend you stock up on ginger bread from the world famous Ginger Bread Shop while you’re there.
 
“Jump aboard a steamer and enjoy a relaxed lake cruise home”
 
Anyone preferring to stay a little closer to home might want to wander around parts of The Windermere Way. The 45-mile route around England’s largest lake is split into 4 sections and incorporates all the accessible lake shore paths; you can pick your own starting point. The Ambleside to Bowness section is just under 10 miles long and for the return journey, simply jump aboard a steamer and enjoy a relaxed lake cruise home to the recently renovated YHA Ambleside.
 
 
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Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Damien:
 
  1  
Drink in the views with a pint of something local in the highest inhabited building in Cumbria (and third highest inn in England). Situated on the top of the Kirkstone Pass, this pub offers a convivial atmosphere and a superb selection of local ales and food.
 
 
  2  
Discover the Lake District’s cultural heritage with a visit to the small, but perfectly formed, Armitt Museum. With a sizeable collection of artwork by local world-renowned artists, as well as Beatrix Potter’s previously unseen original natural history watercolours, there’s plenty to admire here.
 
 
  3  
The diminutive, 2-roomed, 17th - century Bridge House sits on the tiny bridge over Stock Beck. Used as an apple store, then home to a family of eight, and now owned by the National Trust, this iconic Lakeland building has a fascinating history. Get a snap before you leave.
 
 
 
Cotswold
 
 
The days are longer so you can go further
 
Make the most of your time outdoors this summer with quality kit for all kinds of adventures. At Cotswold Outdoor we stock over 250 brands and, with stores nationwide, you’re never far from the kit you love and expert advice to go with it. YHA members receive 15% off* clothing and equipment, shop online or at nationwide stores.
 
 
 
 
 
  Escape Ordinary  
 
 
Unleash your inner Mo Farah and head to YHA Castleton on 24/25th May 2014 for our inaugural RUN YHA trail running festival. We’re hitting the trails and offering entry to 3 races and 2 nights B&B for only £70, so claim your place today.
 
 
 
 
YHA BLACK SAIL
 
 
YHA BLACK SAIL
 
  Where no cars go  
 
 
England’s most remote Youth Hostel is accessible only on foot via a route up the valley from Ennerdale Water or over the shorter, but tougher, walk over the tops from Honister Pass.
 
 
 
Black Sail
 
Black Sail
 
Located in an area that has been restored to a wild state, this former shepherd’s bothy is free from traffic, internet and phone signal. It’s the stuff of Youth Hostelling legend and we’re delighted to have just completed a refurbishment to safeguard it for future generations. If you’ve yet to venture into the hills of the central Lake District, get ready to fall in love.
 
“You can begin to understand why this is a place of pilgrimage for many.”
 
YHA Black Sail is located on the Coast to Coast walk. Also from here, walkers have ready access to a number of Wainwright’s Western Fells including Great Gable, Pillar, Red Pike, Steeple and Haystacks (Wainright’s favourite). You can begin to understand why this is a place of pilgrimage for many. If you’re aiming high, take the trip up to the summit of Pillar and along the Black Sail Pass for an awe-inspiring view of Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain.
 
For something a little more leisurely, head to nearby Ennerdale Water and walk the 6.5-mile circuit around the edge. Offering unparalleled peace and tranquillity, this most remote of lakes is the only one in the Lake District not to have a road running alongside it. So take to the trail and enjoy the silence.
 
 
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Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Wouter:
 
  1  
Take a tour of Great Gable from the hostel up to Windy Gap and down again to Styhead Tarn. On the way home, reward your weary feet with a paddle in the river.
 
 
  2  
Take the High Level Horseshoe at the eastern end of the Ennerdale Valley and bask in the spectacular views over Wastwater.
 
 
  3  
For cyclists, the quieter southern side of the Ennerdale Valley makes for a gentle and enjoyable bike ride all the way down to Ennerdale Water. There are loads of great picnic spots and why not call in at YHA Ennerdale for a brew and a flapjack afterwards?
 
 
 
 
YHA Grinton Lodge
 
 
YHA Grinton Lodge
 
  The drama of the Dales  
 
 
YHA Grinton Lodge
 
YHA Grinton Lodge
 
This rather grand looking former shooting lodge enjoys sensational views over Swaledale and is the perfect place to base a walking holiday, owing to its proximity to a number of fine routes. Wainwright’s Coast to Coast passes close by and, with its abundant amenities, large number of beds and very own camping pod village, Grinton Lodge makes for a convenient stop off for many.
 
Another famous multi-day route in the area is The Herriot Way. The walk was originally conceived to incorporate four Youth Hostels - Grinton Lodge being one of them; it is split into four sections and is approximately 55 miles long. If you’d like to try just one section, we suggest the route south to Aysgarth Falls – a popular beauty spot made famous in the Kevin Costner film Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves – where the River Ure washes over a series of broad limestone steps.
 
“Aysgarth Falls is a popular beauty spot made famous in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves”
 
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, large-scale industrial mining exploited Swaledale and Arkengarthdale’s rich lead ore deposits. A half-day spent wandering around the moors and ruined mines near Grinton showcases this astonishing and rugged landscape; step out of the front door and make the circular route that takes in Grinton, Harkerside Moor and Greets Hill. Wildflower meadows, purple heather-bedecked moorland, traditional limestone barns and industrial relics combine to make a truly striking scene.
 
 
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Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Chris:
 
  1  
Spot the long flat stones along the route of the ‘Corpse Way’. In medieval Swaledale, Grinton’s churchyard was the only consecrated ground for miles around and pallbearers would process a coffin for up to 16 miles to reach St Andrews’. Coffins were set down on these stones to allow a brief rest.
 
 
  2  
Enjoy a moorland walk to Maiden Castle, the ruins of an Iron Age settlement on Harkerside Moor. Look out for the grouse, partridge and lapwings.
 
 
  3  
Visit Grinton Smelt Mill to discover the history of lead mining in the area. Combine with a visit to Swaledale Museum in Reeth for a complete history of Dales life.
 
 
 
National Coutryside Week
 
 
National Coutryside Week
 
Our friends at The Prince’s Countryside Fund want to get as many people as they can to ‘Walk a Country Mile’ and raise money during National Countryside Week (13- 20 July 2014). We think it’s a smashing idea – all you have to do is pledge £3 on their website and walk a country mile. So go on, get out there with friends, family, colleagues or your community group to celebrate the countryside and support those who work so hard to manage and maintain this green and pleasant land.
 
 
 
Ramblers Routes
 
  Ramblers Routes  
 
 
Great news! We’ve partnered with Ramblers, Britain’s walking charity, and are busy working on an exciting project to create and promote two walking routes from every YHA (England & Wales) Youth Hostel. Many routes are now available online and more are uploaded each week. We think it’s going to be a fantastic resource. To find a route simply visit the Ramblers Routes route finder page and search for ‘YHA’.
 
 
 
 
Next month:
   
 
  Costal Edition  
 
 
Grab your cozzy, your wetsuit and your sun cream because in June we’re off to the coast. Oh we do like to be beside the seaside – and who doesn’t! With bucket loads of great coastal properties to choose from, next month you’ll discover the very best places to revel in sun, sea and sand - whether you want to relax on beautiful beaches or plunge feet first into an ocean adventure.
 
 
 
Next month: The Hazy Days Edition
 
  Find out how were changing the lives one stay at a time
Find out how were changing the lives one stay at a time
 
Because YHA is a charity, when you stay with us you’re helping keep prices affordable, hostels beautiful and you’re even enriching the lives of young people. Find out more.
 
 
 
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