The world famous and much-loved Youth Hostel, YHA Black Sail was declared officially re-open by YHA Ambassador and mountaineer Alan Hinkes OBE on 16 July 2014, following its £325,000 refurbishment.
The refurbishment, which was made possible thanks to generous donations from YHA members and organisations, has secured the iconic hostel’s long-term future and enabled it to open to visitors all year round.
To mark the occasion the celebrated mountaineer led a walk from neighbouring hostel, YHA Ennerdale, to the remote Black Sail hostel which is only accessible by foot or bike.
Alan, who has publicly announced Black Sail as his favourite YHA, was joined on the walk by staff, members, volunteers and 47 children from Ennerdale and Kinniside CE Primary School.
As part of the refurbishment celebrated landscape artist Tessa Lyons has created a piece of art which will be on permanent display at Black Sail. Tessa has also worked with Reception to Year 6 students at Ennerdale and Kinniside CE Primary School to produce an art display, which interprets the surrounding Ennerdale landscape in a number of different ways using print, charcoal, fabric, wax, water colour and salt and paper techniques.
YHA Black Sail, which is a former shepherd’s bothy and only accessible on foot or by bike, celebrated its 80th birthday in 2013. It is one of the oldest Youth Hostels in Britain and the warm hospitality, good food and intimate, communal atmosphere is much-loved by the thousands of walkers, climbers and cyclists who visit each year.
Alan Hinkes OBE said: “I love the remoteness of YHA Black Sail. The fact it’s only accessible with your own efforts by foot or bike, only adds to its appeal for me. It is the rural location of many Youth Hostels that holds great appeal for me as they are ideal bases for the walking, climbing and outdoor pursuits that I love.”
Caroline White, Chief Executive of YHA (England and Wales) added: “YHA Black Sail is a great example of the diversity of YHA’s accommodation and the experiences we can offer young people and their families. We have something for everyone, whether it’s a private en suite room in a city-based Youth Hostel or a shared room in a small remote hostel like Black Sail - the welcome and great social atmosphere is the same.”
The investment at Black Sail has enabled YHA to weather-proof the building and reduce running costs through the installation of new energy saving measures and the introduction of energy generation on site. Additionally, storage at the hostel has been increased in order that more supplies can be kept on site during the winter months when the hostel is inaccessible and also to reduce vehicle movements through the Ennerdale Valley.
To help reduce the weekly journeys made to Black Sail through the Ennerdale Valley and enable YHA to run the Youth Hostel efficiently all year round, the Lake District brewer and pub operator Jennings has generously donated a Land Rover to YHA. The new Land Rover is used by the team to shuttle between YHA Ennerdale and Black Sail. Carrying up to five people, the Land Rover can also transport a huge amount of supplies at any one time food, beer, gas bottles, laundry, cleaning products, rubbish and recycling, all needed to service YHA’s most remote site.
Additionally, the hostel has been redecorated, rewired and has new plumbing systems and fire alarm systems installed. There is also improved ventilation and drainage works
The investment in YHA Black Sail is part of YHA’s Capital Investment Plan. Since 2011 YHA has invested more than £22 million in its network since, helping create great value, modern and comfortable accommodation which is open to everyone. Many YHAs boast private en suite bedrooms, licensed bars and restaurants, family-friendly public spaces and camping facilities.
The ongoing financial support from members and visitors to Youth Hostels, means YHA can create more opportunities for more young people to have amazing adventures and create memories that will last a lifetime.
For more information about YHA or to make a booking, visit www.yha.org.uk