YHA Black Sail exterior
Bed in a single gender shared dorm
Private room


Good to Go England

COVID-19 Industry Standard

In Partnership with The National Tourist Organisation of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

In recognition that this business has confirmed that they have followed government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, ensuring processes are in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social/physical distancing.

Location, location, location. Quite simply, that is what YHA Black Sail is all about. Remote and accessible only on foot, it’s a unique rural retreat that lovers of the great outdoors can normally only dream about.

Located in a traffic-free valley, it’s as tranquil as a stay in the Lakes gets. Those on walking, hiking and climbing holidays will value the superb access to nearby peaks including Great Gable, Pillar, Red Pike and Steeple. Breakfast, packed lunches and home-cooked evening meals are available every day to keep you going.

Why guests love YHA Black Sail

  • Unique location at the head of the Ennerdale Valley
  • YHA's most remote Youth Hostel
  • Unrivalled access to great walking

Accommodation at YHA Black Sail

The hostel

YHA Black Sail has 16 beds. The common room is the hub of activity and functions as a lounge, dining room and drying room. This iconic hostel is only accessible by foot or bike, but remains very popular with adventurers! Take a rest on our wooden bench outside and admire the view after a long day's hike. We have a cosy wood-burning stove inside, perfect for telling stories around or drying clothes.

We're a really special hostel and make up for mod cons with a wild atmosphere all of our own. The nearest road is 2.5 miles away by mountain path. There are no credit card facilities on site so please bring cash. There are no electric sockets and mobile phone coverage is limited. The bedrooms, shower and toilets are all accessed from outside, so please bring a torch. Reception opens at 5.00pm however the common room is left open during the day for guests to use.

Hire the whole place

This hostel is occasionally made available for hire on an exclusive basis. This means that you can have the place to yourself and choose how many of your friends, family, club mates, etc., join you. We allocate availability for exclusive use in blocks, typically up to 90 days in the future.

If you are looking for space to stay with us on a normal shared basis, and can’t see any availability three months or more into the future, then this hostel may be being held for Exclusive Hire. Check availability for Exclusive Hire.




  • Cot available
  • Garden / grounds


  • Drying room
  • Lounge


  • Board games

Food & drink

  • Licensed bar
  • Meals available
  • Self-catering kitchen

Other YHA products

  • Trade bookings
  • YHA Exclusive Hire
  • YHA School Trips

Need to know

Closed facilities: The following facilities are temporarily closed at this hostel due to COVID-19 safety measures - cycle store(s).

Check in: From 17:00 - 21:00

Check out: Before 10:00

Open every day?: YHA Black Sail is open every day for bookings from mid-March until the end of October. During the winter months, the hostel is open for group bookings and YHA Exclusive Hire only.

Towels and toiletries: Towels and toiletries are not supplied but are available to hire or purchase from reception. Bedding is supplied.

Parking: The hostel is only accessible by foot or bike. The nearest road is 2.5 miles away by mountain path. Vehicle access to Black Sail is permitted for staff only and they're permitted to drive between YHA Black Sail and YHA Ennerdale. Customers for YHA Black Sail may leave their cars in the Bowness Knott car park, but their vehicles are not authorised beyond.

Dogs: Pets are not permitted at YHA Black Sail. Assistance dogs are welcome.

Breakfast: Breakfast is served daily from 07:30 - 09:00.

Supported by: This project was supported by the Rural Development Programme for England, for which Defra is the Managing Authority, part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas.

YHA Black Sail - Access Statement

(PDF download - 98.64 KB)

YHA Black Sail

Map references

OS Map: 89

OS Grid Ref: NY194124

Lat/Lng: 54.500346, -3.244845

Contact information

Phone: +44 345 371 9680

Email: [email protected]

YHA Exclusive Hire

To enjoy YHA Black Sail for just you, your friends and family, visit our YHA Exclusive Hire website and hire out the whole property.


Volunteering with YHA is a fantastic way to have fun, learn new skills, boost your CV and travel to different places. We have a variety of different opportunities to choose from and volunteering roles to suit everyone.  

The tasks are varied and in return you will meet some great people, who both work and stay in our hostels, as well as enjoying your time off discovering the local area and attractions. Find out more and apply to volunteer at this hostel on the volunteering website


The hostel is one of the oldest in Britain and it started life as a shepherd's bothy - a small hut used for sheltering in the mountains. Back when we opened in 1933, the bunk beds were constructed from a kit of parts and the mattress was simply a canvas between wooden stretchers! Domestic chores and cooking all took place in the common room (or outside) and the water used to be supplied from a nearby stream.

Have a look around the hostel for some vintage snapshots and you'll see how we've preserved its unique character. With a tasteful makeover, a variety of awards, plus support from Defra, we hope this iconic Youth Hostel will be treasured for generations to come.

Meet the team

Manager recommends: Take the opportunity to stay in a remote mountain retreat in the heart of Cumbria's Lakeland High peaks without the hassle of traffic, mobile phones and the internet. Make sure you watch the sun rise over Great Gable, and set over Pillar, simply stunning.

DEFRA EU Leader TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Award 2020 Cyclists and Walkers Welcome Cool Places Rough Guides 2012 and TGO

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