I heard through the grapevine that there was to be a gathering of Bears on the Strathspey Steam Railway in Aviemore so I decided to head over to Cairngorm Lodge in the Cairngorm National Park for a few days to spend time with Caroline, Dave and the team there.
Upon arrival Caroline told me that she was giving me a few days off and that it would be all play and no work, I was so excited (especially as I could still see snow on the hills from the hostel!). Cairngorm Lodge is a former hunting lodge which opened as a hostel in January 1960. It has a very relaxed & cozy vibe, just the thing a bear on tour needs after a hard day of fun.
So off to the Teddy Bears Picnic we went. At the … Read More »
Hamish here with an update on my recent travels to Skye, my trip to this amazing island ended at Glenbrittle Youth Hostel. As you may already know, Glenbrittle Youth Hostel on Skye has recently re-opened after some extensive refurbishment over the winter. First a new roof, then it was time for the interior to get a facelift and also for some structural work done.
On the day that I was seconded as refurbishment manager for Glenbrittle – someone has to coordinate the last efforts before re-opening – I hardly slept in spite of being very tired from my outing at Broadford hostel. I couldn’t’ wait to get to the hostel and see for myself how this purpose built timber hostel that opened in 1939 had been transferred and given a new lease of life and what I would now be … Read More »
After my great week at Uig Youth Hostel, Brant and I took the convenient citylink bus (it stops just below the hostel at Uig) to Broadford. And guess what, no fare for a bear – I travelled for free and hitched a further lift to the hostel in Brant’s backpack!
Exciting news, I had only just moved in and met my new colleagues at Broadford: Gavin, Fi and Frauke the manager, when I hear that a large group of students is going to stay at Broadford Youth Hostel. Before their arrival though I got introduced to the plans for the coming week – and I was mega excited that I had been chosen to help putting the finishing touches on to Glenbrittle Youth Hostel which was nearing completion after extensive refurbishment. Little did I know then that that … Read More »
For most of April, temperatures rarely reached double figures and dropped as low as minus 12 at night. It was no surprise to see large numbers of geese flying north back to their breeding grounds in the middle of the month.
Despite the poor weather the cycle of life goes on. Birds are breeding, red deer stags are losing their antlers and there are lambs in the fields.
So what does May bring? Well it’s probably the most exciting month of the year for wildlife and there are so many things to look out for.
Many of the usual spring migrants were around 2 weeks late arriving this year. Reports were that many birds were staying in the South of England until the weather improved.
The last of the arriving migrants should be arriving soon with swift and spotted flycatcher bringing up the rear. … Read More »
Here is my last blog piece from my advenutures while staying with Sara and Brant at Uig Youth Hostel. Skye is such a wonderful Island and so accessible to the Outer Hebrides. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to jump on the Calmac Ferry from Uig over to Tarbert on Harris. It was my first time on a ferry so I was a bit worried about getting sea sick, however I ended up having so much fun I didn’t even think about it!
On route to meet the ferry, wait for me!!
The Outer Hebrides!
I really enjoyed my first trip on a ferry, luckily for me the sea was nice and calm and I loved my short trip to the Isle of Harris. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to visit any hostels while I was … Read More »
Spring has sprung and our feathered friends are well into nesting season. It’s a great time of year to watch a wide variety of birds busy at work nest building and feeding their young. Sadly, however, according to latest RSPB national surveys many of our most familiar birds are in decline. But you can help.
Some birds nest on the ground, so if you are walking and a bird suddenly appears in the air or on the surface of a loch, there may be a nest on the ground nearby. If this happens it’s best to move away quickly as you may unwittingly have put a bird off its nest, leaving the eggs or young exposed to predators such as gulls and crows.
When walking along our shores and beaches, you may suddenly become aware of birds flying near you and … Read More »
Ullapool enjoys a reputation as a centre for live music both traditional and popular. There are weekly gigs and sessions year round but for many the upcoming Adult Feis is perhaps the highlight of a musical year.
This annual three day festival shares and celebrates Gaelic culture. It offers first class tuition in traditional music, song, dance, Gaelic language and culture in a beautiful setting. All abilities are catered for and workshops are taught by ear and led by a team of internationally renowned musicians so there is something for everyone.
Those attending workshops can enjoy the Saturday night session with tutors followed by the inspiring Sunday evening Tutor Concert.
For those not attending the workshops, the bars will be offering live music and with so many talented and aspiring musicians in the village there are likely to be impromptu sessions to enjoy.
The … Read More »
I have been to some amazing places around the SYHA Hostelling Scotland network already, and I had such a great time on Skye. But it wasn’t all sightseeing and fun for me…! Sara and Brant at Uig Youth Hostel made sure I mucked in and helped them with the day to day chores!
First of all, I got to cleaning all the bedrooms and bathrooms, ready for the next guests to arrive.
Then I went off to do the banking at the post office with Sara. I took the opportunity to send a couple of postcards to Matt from Torridon and Aaron who I spent some time in Pitlochry with. I thought they’d like to know where I was and how I was getting on.
Back at … Read More »
If you are in Edinburgh and would like to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, why not take a cycle ride or walk The Water of Leith Walkway, a beautiful 12 3/4 mile walk. Running in between the Botanic Gardens and Stockbridge, a river which flows from the rolling Pentland hills, winds through the city and down to the dock area of Leith before reaching the sea. With pathways along most of the river, you can even begin a walk at the Water of Leith Visitor Centre on the south side of the city which provides free, fun and informative exhibits.
On reaching the Shores of Leith you will find plenty of cafes wine bars and restaurants. If you are looking for accommodation why not stay at Read More »
You don’t have to head for the hills to enjoy wildlife – in fact, you might find nature right on your doorstep!
Some of the most fascinating wildlife is often right under our noses. The Falls of Clyde Wildlife Reserve is internationally renowned for its magnificent waterfalls, ancient wildflower and fungi-rich woodlands – and is less than an hour’s travel from Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Covering 59 acres of stunning woodland and natural landscapes, all set within a National Nature Reserve, the area offers a superb destination for wildlife enthusiasts and those keen to learn more about the nature of the region.
Set in one of the historic buildings within the village, our New Lanark Youth Hostel (given 4.5 stars by visitors) is in a unique position. Industrial heritage and natural history go hand-in-hand and for the wildlife enthusiast, the four-star Scottish Wildlife … Read More »
I arrived at the Youth Hostel in Uig refreshed after resting during the trip from Torridon. I was looking forward to staying in the hostel (and working hard, of course!) and exploring the sights of the North end of Skye – a land of snow, sky, fantastic vistas, sea voyages, fairies, and great company too.
First I did some exploring to the interesting rock features of the Quiraing with new friends, Felix, Daniel and Leif, from Germany who were also staying at the hostel. There was some snow, but it wasn’t safe for snowboarding because of the cliffs and loose rocks. Luckily it wasn’t too exhausting for me and my little legs as I was carried!
We had a great walk with fantastic views over Staffin Bay towards the mainland, Torridon and Gairloch where I’d just come from.
Spring has arrived at long last in most parts of Scotland.
Spring is the perfect time for a mini break, as the weather is better and accommodation is less expensive than the peak season of July and August, so why not head to Edinburgh during the month of May.
If you do visit us in May you will enjoy Tradfest 24th April – 6th May 2013. Tradfest is a new Festival inspired by the traditional arts of Scotland and will take place in Edinburgh from 24th April to 6th May 2013. Tradfest Edinburgh, Dùn Èideann celebrates the arts, songs, stories, crafts, music and dance. The key aim is to combine authentic cultural with contemporary edge and flair. Find out more about Tradfest.
At SYHA Edinburgh Central the team and are delighted to see sunshine at last, it certainly has put a smile on our … Read More »