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BS: Favorite Youth Hostels

Bert 13 Mar 13 - 09:15 PM
GUEST 13 Mar 13 - 09:22 PM
Bert 13 Mar 13 - 09:23 PM
Steve Shaw 13 Mar 13 - 10:09 PM
ranger1 13 Mar 13 - 10:25 PM
open mike 14 Mar 13 - 01:52 AM
Bert 14 Mar 13 - 05:09 AM
MGM·Lion 14 Mar 13 - 07:31 AM
artbrooks 14 Mar 13 - 10:10 AM
Steve Shaw 14 Mar 13 - 10:32 AM
My guru always said 15 Mar 13 - 03:57 AM
Mo the caller 15 Mar 13 - 05:35 AM
John MacKenzie 15 Mar 13 - 06:22 AM
Steve Shaw 15 Mar 13 - 08:43 AM
Ann N 15 Mar 13 - 08:56 AM
Steve Shaw 15 Mar 13 - 09:41 AM
RWJ 15 Mar 13 - 09:57 AM
Jim McLean 15 Mar 13 - 01:20 PM
John J 15 Mar 13 - 04:09 PM
John MacKenzie 15 Mar 13 - 04:20 PM
Wolfhound person 15 Mar 13 - 06:33 PM
John J 15 Mar 13 - 07:56 PM
Steve Shaw 15 Mar 13 - 09:28 PM
John MacKenzie 16 Mar 13 - 05:01 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 16 Mar 13 - 07:59 AM
Steve Shaw 16 Mar 13 - 09:13 AM
Van 16 Mar 13 - 07:59 PM
Steve Shaw 16 Mar 13 - 09:25 PM
Bert 17 Mar 13 - 12:34 AM
Steve Shaw 17 Mar 13 - 07:43 AM

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Subject: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: Bert
Date: 13 Mar 13 - 09:15 PM

Way back in the late Fifties and Early Sixties we lived in Basildon Essex (UK). Our Favorite hostels were those which could be reached on Friday after work.

So they were High Roding, which was a tithe barn and by far the best when Mrs Thorpe was warden. One time we held a square dance there and just up the road we had seen an old covered wagon in a field. We thought that ir would make a good back drop for the dance. Unfortunately, a closer look revealed that it was riddled with woodworm, so bringing it into the barn was out of the question.

Goudhurst, if we were heading south which was in Twyssenden Manor, built in the 1480's. One time we were given a tour of the hostel which included a look at the priests hole, the whipping post in the kitchen and the ice house outside.

And for folk dancing we would often go to Malden. The caller (can't remember his name) was into English square dancing, but still we enjoyed it.

So guys, reminisce about your hostelling days.


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Mar 13 - 09:22 PM

Hostal Elbaluarte in Bogota, Colombia. Felt like we were part of the family from the get-go, and didn't want to leave after two weeks. Great people who ran the place.


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: Bert
Date: 13 Mar 13 - 09:23 PM

That's an unusual one Guest. But that is just how the best hostels should be.


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Mar 13 - 10:09 PM

In the 70s, as well as visiting in my own right, I took several parties of kids to Ivinghoe hostel where we always had a great time. I'm still a YHA member though it's over 20 years since I stayed in a hostel. I did most of my hostelling in Scotland, mostly north and west. I enjoyed it all, but my very fondest recollections were of Achmelvich hostel, which was basically a shack in the sand-dunes in the most idyllic location imaginable (the warden at the time was Colin Jolly. I wonder where he is now!), and of Ratagan hostel, where the warden was John Fisher. He and his wife Jan were (are!) superb artists as well as truly good eggs. I have two sepia watercolours of theirs facing me right now on the wall behind my laptop, one of the Five Sisters of Kintail and one of an old couple sitting outside the door of their croft. My very first (and unforgettable) hostelling experience of all was at Tongue hostel, right on the north coast of Sutherland. I rapidly learned that if you wanted to hostel in remote Scotland you needed some basic cooking skills! I walked up Ben Loyal from there a couple of times, once with my missus-to-be. Very romantic, until the mist descended and we discovered that Ben Loyal is a magnetic mountain on which compasses are as useful as a chocolate teapot! If you dared to walk over the causeway which crossed the Kyle of Tongue you were divebombed all the way across by a colony of arctic terns.


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: ranger1
Date: 13 Mar 13 - 10:25 PM

Ball Hill in Donegal, the old coast guard station. The last morning there, we got to watch seals in the bay while eating breakfast.


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: open mike
Date: 14 Mar 13 - 01:52 AM

I went to Sweden and Norway with my parents in 1974. We were on a bus tour staying in hotels, but i broke away from the group to stay at a hostel -- i think it was Balestrand, Norway. http://www.hihostels.com/hostels/Balestrand-Norway-index-E-NO-042029.php It was great to be among the locals and international travellers. There also is a great hostel south of san francisco on the beach with a light house and hot tub...http://norcalhostels.org/montara...their dad and i took our daughters there a few times...


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: Bert
Date: 14 Mar 13 - 05:09 AM

Did they still host folk dances at Ivinghoe while you were there Steve?

Youth Hostels were where we learned to cook as well. We couldn't afford the prepared meals so we mostly did our own cooking. Just last night I prepared a meal for two in a skillet. We made a few mistakes along the way though. Perhaps that would make another thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Mar 13 - 07:31 AM

I remember a beautiful view from the one in Blaenau Ffestiniog ~~ but that was in the 1940s. Don't expect they have moved it, tho.

In 1949 the one in the south of Paris had an agreeable sing-song one evening I was there, but perhaps that was because there was a fellow-guest with an accordion.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: artbrooks
Date: 14 Mar 13 - 10:10 AM

We stayed in a nice hostel in Halifax a couple of years ago. The kids there (20-somethings) were amazed that we had ever heard of Stan Rogers and astounded that we knew the words to "Farewell to Nova Scotia".


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Mar 13 - 10:32 AM

I hate to admit this, Bert, but I had no interest in anything folkified until the early 1990s and my Damascus moment. I even spent a month in Ireland in the 70s, cheerfully oblivious of the existence of Planxty, the Bothies, De Dannan etc. Woe was me!


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: My guru always said
Date: 15 Mar 13 - 03:57 AM

Tanners Hatch in Surrey, UK still has occasional Folk weekends, just lovely!


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: Mo the caller
Date: 15 Mar 13 - 05:35 AM

I stayed in Tanners Hatch with 2 friends. There was no-one else there, even the warden lived in a separate cottage. 3 tiered bunks and a wood fire (lovely at the time, but our clothes smelled of smoke for the rest of the week).The thing I enjoyed was the variety. From Jordons - a fairly basic, self catering hostel to Oxford - a big old house (not the Backpackers hostel that's on the website).
One year I decided to take my (old sit-up-and-beg) bike to college, rode from Harrow to Keele via various hostels.
Then after 30 years there was Capel y Ffin where we stayed while delivering and collecting our daughter from a YHA pony trek. This time we thought we'd camp as Jim didn't fancy the dormitaries, what we didn't know was that the hostel was on a mountainside - no a flat pitch in sight. I can't find it now, maybe it's shut.
I used to enjoy reading the handbook, always wanted to stay in a place with a name like Bogle Hole. Then a couple of years ago we paused on the way home from Whitby FF, walked along the cliff from Robin Hoods bay and there it was, and serving teas to non-residents. It seemed to have a bar too - unheard of in my day.


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 15 Mar 13 - 06:22 AM

So many hostels are shut now. Most of the ones I went to as a lad are dim and distant memories. Even the jewel in the crown of the SYHA, my local hostel,Carbisdale Castle is closed, albeit temporarily. Due to water ingress, causing damage that may run to several million pounds. Such a shame!
I was on the Glasgow hostel volunteers committee, and went on weekend work parties. What fun they were, several chaps in the back of an old canvas covered ex-army lorry. We dug ditches, painted, and repaired, wesang songs, and drunk beer. There were weekends of Scottish Country dancing, at the beautiful Loch Lomond Hostel.
I worked in the office in Renfield Street in Glasgow, processing membership applications and renewals, one evening a week, for a wee while.
I have a collection of postcards featuring some of the Scottish hostels, now getting a bit sepia tinted.
Dave Goulder was a hostel warden too, in the good old days.


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Mar 13 - 08:43 AM

I remember the old lady who ran Aultbea hostel in the 70s, making us chop wood with blunt axes and then coming outside accusing us of chopping concrete!


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: Ann N
Date: 15 Mar 13 - 08:56 AM

Here are links to Boggle Hole YHA and Whitby YHA   :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Mar 13 - 09:41 AM

Another I used to frequent was Durness. Dunno what it's like these days but it was a collection of ex-army huts in the 70s. In those days wardens took pity on anyone who turned up even if the place was already stuffed to the rafters in the high season. I remember having to kip on the floor there with dozens of others! But what a lovely area. I got well in with a chap from Glasgow and we formed a formidable darts duo and beat all the locals in the Smoo Cave Hotel. They were not necessarily best pleased! My budget for my hostel stays, all my grub and a few pints was 22 quid a week. I always travelled by thumb. I learned that Sunday was not a good day to hitch in northern Scotland. My brother and I got stranded half way between Lochinver and Ullapool, at Elphin, on a freezing cold Sunday evening, after we'd climbed Cul Mor, and had to get a taxi to Ullapool. Five quid! We drowned our sorrows with a few warming double scotches at the Royal Hotel in Ullapool before heading back to the hostel, which was run by a wonderful woman in those days. Another time we walked from Ullapool to Achiltibuie hostel on the Rock Path. There was water only from a stream at the hostel and your morning duty was often to empty the chemical toilets into the cesspit! Happy days...


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: RWJ
Date: 15 Mar 13 - 09:57 AM

Bryn-Poith Uchaf was a lovely out of ther way hostel. Clun an old water mill, Dinas Mouhtwy probably spelt wrong all good for partying (though not in the rules).


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: Jim McLean
Date: 15 Mar 13 - 01:20 PM

I got a job as assistant warden in 1959 ina Bavarian Youth Hostel in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It was the most delightful summer of my life in the most beautiful village in the world. I still go back for the Pfingsten (Whitsun) festival .. lots of music and beer. I sometimes meet up with Pat Cooksey, writer of the Sick Note, who lives in Nurnberg.


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: John J
Date: 15 Mar 13 - 04:09 PM

Favourites are:

Buttermere - not stayed there for a few years though
Black Sail - great location....but the dorms were a bit damp
Coniston Coppermines - stayed there a couple of weeks ago, proper job!

Steve Shaw - did you mean Alltbeithe SYHA?

Anyone stopped at Gerry's Hostel, Achnashellach?

JJ


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 15 Mar 13 - 04:20 PM

Dave Goulder, was warden of the SYHA hostel at Achnashellach.


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: Wolfhound person
Date: 15 Mar 13 - 06:33 PM

the one in Torridon - halfway between Lower Diabaig and Point. Mid-60s.

Paws


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: John J
Date: 15 Mar 13 - 07:56 PM

This is Gerry's hostel

JJ


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Mar 13 - 09:28 PM

I thought it was called Aultbea. It doesn't seem to be there now...


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 16 Mar 13 - 05:01 AM

The hostel at Aultbea had a very slow start. In 1945 it was suggested that the NAAFI canteen be used, but it was found to be not suitable, no partitioning, bad state of repair, and attention switched to the Officers' Mess building. This was secured by 1947, but opening was delayed until 1950 by a series of problems, including court proceedings connected with crofting rights, at which the Association was an innocent bystander.

One problem at Aultbea was that the village of huts all around the Officers' Mess was gradually dismantled for disposal, leaving the hostel more and more exposed to the ravages of the weather.

Marion Grant grew up at the hostel, and writes:
My Mother was known as Han Hostel. She did the day to day running of the youth hostel and Dad, Kenny, also known to this day as Kenny Hostel, was the repair man!   Mam took over as warden I understand in 1963 or 1964 until it closed in 1979. Our living quarters were a bit basic. They consisted of two bedrooms, a sitting room, bathroom and kitchen and small cupboard known as the toy cupboard!

Aultbea Hostel was popular, and often crowded during the season, but by the end of the 1970s it had serious structural flaws and had to close. A continuing oddity concerning this hostel is that, although it functioned for 30 years, not a single photograph of it has ever emerged, and the only known illustration is the drawing from contemporary handbooks. We'd very much treasure any photograph of Aultbea for the Historical Archive and would like to put out yet another plea for one.


Taken from here


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 16 Mar 13 - 07:59 AM

We used to have one in the village and we met many a traveller in the local pubs who used it`s services while visiting Kent. It`s gone now and the land sports some "executive" housing. Let me out!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Mar 13 - 09:13 AM

Well, "Han Hostel" was certainly a very feisty lady. I still have this picture of her, arms akimbo, remonstrating with us for blunting her axes on the concrete as we tried to chop wood. These days I wouldn't dream of coming back from anywhere without hundreds of photos, but, lamentably, I didn't have a camera on that trip, which must have been in either '74 or '75.


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: Van
Date: 16 Mar 13 - 07:59 PM

John, been to that hostel. Shame it's gone. Convinced me to move to Kent. Nowlive in Margate. (miss the downs but wife loved the sea!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Mar 13 - 09:25 PM

My last hostelling trip was in 1990. I took my kids and my bike on the train from yer in Cornwall (having cycled from Bude to Exeter and got the missus to drive the kids to St David's station) up to Manchester to stay with my mum and dad. Having dumped the kids there, I cycled back the 320 miles from Bury to Bude. My ten-speed Claud Butler Majestic, with Reynolds 531 double-butted tubing, was de rigeur for the serious bike chap in those days (both shifters on the down-tube, unlike what you get on these modern cissy bikes!). I got to the Shrewsbury hostel on the first day and enjoyed a pint or three in that elegant town before hitting the sack. On the second day I made the stupid decision to cycle down the A49. I drank three litres of long-life pineapple juice and ate a sackload of iffy pork pies that I bought in a shop in Church Stretton. The day was supposed to end with a lovely glide down the Wye Valley, past Tintern Abbey, to Chepstow. What they don't tell you is that the bloody road "down" the valley does an awful lot of uphill along one side! I spent that night at Chepstow hostel, right up the top of Mountain Road, a name a cyclist would remember... Third day I crossed the Severn for free and headed for the Somerset Levels. Piece of cake? Not on your Nelly, not when you're cycling south-west into a stiff south-west wind!! I did get up on to Exmoor that evening, and just made it for tea to Exford hostel, where some locals took the piss out of my shorts and nearly got into a fight with a chap I'd gone for a pint with! Next day was relatively easy, sailing off Exmoor, though rural Devon, and back home for tea. Good days they were. I wish my back was still as good today as it was then... :-(


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: Bert
Date: 17 Mar 13 - 12:34 AM

Steve, a ten speed IS a cissy bike. I used to go touring on a single fixed; gear usually around 73 inches.

I was riding a 23 inch McClean when I was touring the Wye Valley. Problem is that it had a Chater Lea bottom bracket with 5/16 balls. And wouldn't you know it my bottom bracket burned out (how is another story)just before we got to Ross.

Have you ever tried to buy 5/16inch bearing balls in a country town? Well we did find this bike shop and the guy had half a dozen of them. Not enough to pack a bottom bracket, so we had to rescue the best of the burnt ones to get us going again. The other thing that I remember about that shop was that the had a Dursley Pedersen hanging up in the shop. The first and only time that I have ever seen one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Favorite Youth Hostels
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 17 Mar 13 - 07:43 AM

I used to carry an assortment of ball bearing sizes in my toolkit, just in case, along with a serviceable cone or two and a bit of grease (though I always managed to save bottom bracket stuff for home!) That's hard-man stuff all right, touring on a fixed gear. I'm also sorely tempted to say that I can't help admiring the size of your balls, but maybe not... ;-)


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