View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy
Showing posts with label YHA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label YHA. Show all posts

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

LEJOG, Oh the wind and rain

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It was definitely a good move to stay at Penzance YHA last night. This morning the roads were littered with bits of tree and other detritus. Aktos are very good but last night's storms would certainly have tested it's mettle.

At 10am the winds were still far too strong to cycle, forget about cycling safely. So strong were the gusts that it was difficult to stand at times.

I went with Plan B: bus to Lands End and walk back to Penzance. To avoid camera shake from the wind (did I mention the strong wind?) I took photographs with my camera set to 'Sports Mode' ie: a fast shutter speed.

At Lands End the sea was quite spectacular, waves were crashing like nobody's business. A light aircraft flew over, it seemed to be almost travelling sideways - I'm rather pleased that I wasn't on board.

There were a few people tottering around Lands End itself but nobody was following the SWCP, opting instead for the safer inland footpaths and roads.

I was keen to visit the Telegraph Museum at Porthcurno, I quite fancied a play with their radio station - although I hadn't thought to bring my Amateur Radio Licence with me.....doh.

Unfortunately the museum was closed, shut, and not open either. That was the end of that then.

Never mind, a pint in the pub opposite would be reasonable consolation... well it would have been had it been open. Ho hum.

The beach at Porthcurno was quite beautiful, bathed in sunshine but whipped by an icy gale....there's that wind again.

The rest of the walk back was unremarkable, mainly because I was following minor roads. I've walked the coastal path before and that would have been a far more attractive proposition - had it not been for the wind.

I arrived back in Penzance around mid afternoon (I'd forgotten how lumpy Cornwall was) and still blowing an ice-cold hoolie.

Plan B rev1.0: head to Wetherspoon's, drink coffee and eat cake (twurly for a beer, even for me) and review my position.

The review resulted in Plan B rev1.1: stay another night in Penzance and head off early in the morning. I'm behind schedule but it matters not - as long as I'm home in good time to play a ceilidh on 19th March.

So that's it, 10 miles covered and around 40 miles behind schedule - but plenty of opportunity to catch up.

There are some rather poor photographs included - apart from a close-up of Longships Lighthouse, a mile or so off Lands End. That photograph came from Geograph, via Wikipedia.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

LEJOG, In the beginning....

At Navigation Road Station, Timperley

A long day involving a bit of cycling and lots of trains (4) saw my arrival in Penzance at 18.04 precisely.

This evening's Plan was to cycle to Lands End and stealth camp but the weather has worsened..... and it's going to get worsener still overnight, with 55-60mph winds and heavy rain forecast.

Quincyquontly I've booked into Penzance YHA for the night. The forecast isn't brilliant for tomorrow so Plan B is to go to Lands End by bus and walk back to the hostel, it's only around 10 miles so I should be back at the hostel by around 1pm. I'll jump back on the bike and pedal off into the East.

Being as wot the wind will be from the West, and that I'll be travelling East I should be able to get a good few miles in before tea-time.... I might be a bit soggy and damp though.

I was going to hit the local Wetherspoons but I'll try to support the YHA by drinking some of their beers. The YHA is a charity after all, and charities should be supported.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

22nd November, Black Sail Hut

The Tally-Ho! collective thought that hiring the YHA’s Black Sail Hut for a weekend at the end of November would be a bit of a wheeze. After all, the hut is advertised as being the YHA’s most remote hostel and it’s situated in a stunningly beautiful area. We’d have short days, almost guaranteed poor weather, I’d be assured of sharing a cramped dormitory with a bunch of smelly, sweaty, burping, farting fell-runners…...what’s not to like?

Perhaps foolishly, I rejoined the YHA. My original idea was to travel by train to St Bees, walk to Gillerthwaite YHA, and then walk up to Black Sail the next day. Except Gillerthwaite YHA was closed.

Not to worry, I’d instigate Plan B: travel to Whitehaven and walk to Buttermere YHA, spending the night there instead. It would be a lovely walk to Black Sail Hut from there – through Scarth Gap and all that. Buttermere YHA was closed too.

Plan C then came about. At the last minute the group had decided to meet up at Braithwaite for breakfast at the Coledale Inn on the Friday morning. Being as wot Braithwaite is close to Keswick I decided to spend the Thursday night at the (open) Keswick YHA. Unfortunately this meant that I’d need to drive, something I was hoping to avoid.

imageA not very flattering photograph of Keswick’s new Wetherspoon’s pub - ‘The Chief Justice of the Common Pleas’, Keswick’s old Police Station.

Anyroadup, Plan C worked out quite well in the end: I needed to call in to see Beryl who lives near Preston at some point to deliver her new Scarp 1, and I was keen to check out the new Wetherspoon’s pub in Keswick – it all went swimmingly.  Wetherspoon’s much lowerer beer prices have had quite an effect on the beer prices at Keswick’s other pubs. And Beryl’s very happy with her new tent.

image Breakfast in Braithwaite – and Cheshire’s leanest, fittest runners. Hmmm. 

Arrangements had been made for the Warden of Black Sail to meet us at the Bowness Knott car park in order to transport essential supplies (beer, food, more beer, wine, even more beer, objects of musical torture etc) to the hut in his Land Rover. We arrived at the car park at the appointed meeting time: 10.30am. It was over two hours later when the Warden eventually appeared – Walter (pr: ‘Volter’….he’s from Abroad) wasn’t popular.

Our Plan (Ho-ho!) was to get up to Great Borne and then follow the ridgy-thing to Seat, taking in Starling Dodd, Little Dodd, Red Pike, High Stile and High Crag and then to drop down to the hut by Scarth Gap.

It was getting on for 1pm when we managed to get away, our enforced late start meant we had to dramatically alter our planned walk for the day. Given the weather this perhaps wasn’t such a bad thing. We followed the LRT to just beyond Gillerthwaite YHA and then headed straight up to the top of Red Pike and on to High Stile…and a very quick lunch.

image Up to High Stile

The weather was deteriorating and hanging around wasn’t considered A Good Thing.

Visibility wasn’t brilliant and although it was still quite light we got a shift on – nobody fancied the idea of walking in the dark. By the time we were descending off Seat the light had gone and head torches were needed.

We arrived at the hostel around 6.00pm. It was lovely and warm – central heating and electric lighting had been installed since my last visit. Nice.

Bunks were bagged, the woodburning stove fired-up and essential rehydration (tea…what else?) operations commenced.

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We had booked a hostel meal for the first night, Volter Walter rolled up with a huge bowl of hot-pot…he then promptly disappeared. The group then performed a vanishing trick on the hot-pot. Very clever.

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A very pleasant evening followed, the beer supply took a severe bashing – more beer was clearly needed. This was where Volter Walter actually performed: he went off to a distant supermarket, in a land far, far away, and returned with bottles and cans. Unfortunately he didn’t return with kindling for the fire or more fuel for the hostel’s diesel generator. Oh well.

imageFast Taylor’s guitar being eyed-up as a source of kindling 

I’d like to report that I slept very well in the dorm. I’d like to….

Where we eventually went on the Friday:

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 7.5 miles with around 2900’ of up. 

 

Saturday morning dawned, after a fashion. The Tally-Ho! Catering and Washing-up Corps did a splendid job of doing the decent thing of providing excellent breakfasts and packed lunches…

image…and doing the washing up 

Plans had been drawn up for a couple of walks for the day, I chose to do Haystacks, Innominate Tarn and Brandreth. Not a  long walk by any means, but given the mizzle, poor visibility etc it seemed to be favourite.

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Cheshire’s finest….er, runners

The alternative walk was to the south, over Great Gable, Kirk Fell and Pillar. Although a number set out on the walk, poor weather had them shortening their route – although when the cloud allowed they had some great views.

image Black Sail Hut from the west

imageThis is a popular route for walkers – cyclists too!

Mapless Taylor, Old Markham and I set off up Scarth Gap as the B Team headed south up Black Sail Pass to climb Kirk Fell. As they disappeared into the cloud I couldn’t help thinking we’d got the better deal with our lower route – we avoided most of the low cloud. 

imageOld Markham and Mapless 

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Buttermere and Crummock Water

We decided not to bother with Brandreth, the weather was worsening and the ground was a gloopy, boggy mess of bog and gloop. The top of Brandreth, which isn’t THAT much of a top had become shrouded in cloud – norralot of point going up there. So we beat a retreat to the hut.

imageBlack Sail Hut in the wet

The B Team arrived back soon after us, they had decided to give Kirk Fell a miss, it was just too murky and grim up there – although when they got breaks in the cloud the views were good.

Where the A Team went:

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5 miles / 2000’ of ascent

A pleasant evening followed: good food and good beer – the Catering Crew did us proud. The high class (?) entertainment was, er, entertaining too:

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Val Doonican eat your heart out!

The excellent Dick Turpin Ale lasted until mid evening, after which the back-up supplies were called into service.

Next morning, after a good breakfast, we gave the hut a good clean before heading back down the track to pick up our cars from the Bowness Knott car park. We’d had a brilliant weekend – so much so that we’re looking to do it all over again next year.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Sunday 31st August 2014, For Sale: One Youth Hostel

A trip oop north to spend some time in Northumberland, staying in the wonderful Edmunbyers Youth Hostel. 
 
This is a traditional hostel (without the chores!) that provides everything a traveller needs: a decent kitchen, dorms plus smaller private rooms, a lovely warden (Sarah), a wonderful situation, space for camping outside....it's excellent.
 
This is simply the type of hostel that many hostellers are bemoaning the loss of - and perhaps why independent hostel movement is growing in popularity.
 
Okay, many independent hostels are a bit flashier than this, but they're cheap, busy and profitable.
The YHA say this hostel isn't making a profit. The YHA is a charity and doesn't (didn't? ) exist to make a profit.

 
What a dreadful shame,  the YHA are now selling the place.
 
I just hope that the new owners keep the place open as a hostel. I rather suspect that it will be turned into a large private house.
 
Many of these buildings were given to the YHA with one use in mind - as a hostel for those of limited means.
 
Those donors must be turning in their graves.