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YHA Hostel of the Week Archive: YHA Black Sail
    18/01/2016 03:48

Hostel of the Week Archive: YHA Black Sail

Hostel of the Week Archive: YHA Black Sail

Dream of escaping to the wilderness? YHA Black Sail is the ultimate way to experience the great outdoors - miles from the nearest road and surrounded by Lord of the Rings-esque scenery. If you love REALLY rural hikes, electricity-free socialising and the sound of sheep baa-ing outside, you can't beat this world-famous hostel. Leave reality behind for unrivalled Lake District adventures.

The Youth Hostel

A former shepherd's bothy, YHA Black Sail has welcomed thousands of adventurers and is a truly special location. This extraordinary stone building is Sir Chris Bonington's favourite Youth Hostel and was reopened by Alan Hinkes OBE after a superb refurbishment in 2013. Its winning combination of unspoilt surroundings, rural charm and friendly communal feel has made it a Lake District legend. Accessible only on foot or by bike, you'll find a thriving community of walkers, climbers and lovers of the great outdoors sheltering inside. We may not have internet access or electric sockets, but we've got a cosy wood-burning stove to help dry off your clothes and hundreds of stories to tell. Join us for a cuppa in our honesty cafe, bond over a game of Scrabble, or chat about your day with a glass of wine and a home-cooked meal. We're proud of YHA Black Sail's rugged vibe, but you'll still find comfy beds, warm showers and a well-equipped kitchen to use. The hostel can also be booked for an unforgettable YHA School Trip, or taken over on YHA Exclusive Hire for a tranquil holiday with family and friends. Whether you're a famous mountaineer or just love the traditional experience, many would say it's perfect.


From its opening in 1933 to appearing on George Clarke's Amazing Spaces on Channel 4, YHA Black Sail's off-grid appeal has attracted people for over 80 years. Even after a £325,000 renovation, the hostel has retained its unique sense of history. You can browse the journals of past mountaineers, read murals on the wall about local legends, or add your own story to our guestbook. 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. YHA Black Sail's lonely exterior and busy interior have been a familiar sight for decades; the traffic-free valley outside is as wild as the Lake District gets. 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.

Walking & Cycling

YHA Black Sail is a dream come true for fell walkers and adventurers - in fact, the nearest road is two and a half miles away. Bring your hiking boots or bike for the outdoor holiday of a lifetime and tackle famous peaks such as Great Gable, Pillar, Red Pike and Steeple. Our hostel sits in the spectacular Ennerdale Valley, home to one of England's most amazing natural environments. The valley is being returned to its 'wild' state; being allowed to evolve naturally away from human technology and intervention. If you've always dreamed of going off-grid, YHA Black Sail is one step from running away to the wilderness. It can only be accessed by walking over a breathtaking mountain pass or by trekking along a 6-mile track, plus there are no neighbours for miles. Never spent a day away from civilisation? Why not relax with some unrivalled stargazing, watch the sun rise dramatically over the mountains, or bike up to the challenging Black Sail Pass. Once you're tired out from exploring, YHA Black Sail is the perfect retreat for weary backpackers. Take off your boots, hang up your wet clothes and join us for a hearty meal at our Supper Club - you're bound to get some ideas for your next route or find some new friends.

Green Travel

Well on its way to being self-sufficient, YHA Black Sail is a great choice for green travellers. After our 2013 makeover, the hostel is more sustainable than ever and has received some clever eco-friendly improvements. Renewable energy and hot water are provided on-site by photovoltaic panels and a wood-burning stove. You'll also find sun pipes (allowing the hostel to be lit naturally), thermal insulation, double glazing and weather-proofing. With reduced running costs and a unique back-to-nature atmosphere, you'll forget about the lack of plug sockets, internet and reliable phone signal in no time.

So what are you waiting for? Be part of YHA Black Sail's history and book a stay!

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