2017 UPDATE: We no longer offer placements for solo Duke of Edinburgh volunteers. We may run courses in 2018 for those wishing to complete their Gold Residential Section. These will be updated on our volunteer page.
As part of the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award programme two high school students, Fiona and Skye, joined us at Crianlarich and Loch Ossian Youth Hostels this August…
As part of the residential section of my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award I volunteered with Crianlarich Youth Hostel from the 10th to the 14th of August. Volunteering began at 10am each morning with tidying up and helped to make up the beds for private rooms and lasted for around 4-5 hours each day. Other duties included hoovering the rooms, halls and toilets and helping to sanitise the kitchen and dining room. Once all of that was done I learnt how to make up bed packs and prepared them for the next day.
I enjoyed my stay at the hostel because I was able to be self-sufficient as I cooked, cleaned and made up beds for myself. It was also really easy to get on with the friendly staff at the youth hostel.
During my time there I had the opportunity to meet so many different people from all over the world - Spain, Holland, Germany and France - I became very close to the girl from France and I hope to keep in touch with her. On my last night I went out for a walk with Dutch girls that were in my room and it was interesting to hear their stories.
In my free time I went to the nearby Crianlarich Community Woodland Walk which is funded by the Strathfillan Community Trust. It was a beautiful walk, planted with native trees. I saw woodpeckers, pheasants and a lot of little garden birds in the youth hostel grounds including a baby Swift nesting on a light outside. At night there were bats flying outside my bedroom window.
I would recommend SYHA Hostelling Scotland for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards residential stage to prospective candidates.
As part of the Duke of Edinburgh Gold programme you must complete a 5 day residential and I am very happy that I decided to complete mine with SYHA Hostelling Scotland! I stayed in Loch Ossian Youth Hostel – I wasn’t sure what to expect since I had heard it was in the middle of nowhere, far from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. However the surrounding area was beautiful as the youth hostel was situated right next to the loch, with mountains on all sides. There was also a lot of wildlife; the swallow family that lived above the shed with a habit of dive-bombing you when you tried to get to the cleaning equipment, the ravens and eagles from the mountains and a stag that liked to steal the bird food!
While I was volunteering there the kind of jobs I undertook were cleaning, doing the laundry, painting the doors of the youth hostel, planting flower cuttings and welcoming guests to the youth hostel. I learnt many new skills by doing all of this, and ones that I hope to use elsewhere.
Fortunately the weather was amazing during my stay so I was able to go out on some walks around the loch on my time off. The atmosphere was quiet and peaceful and I managed to take some great photographs.
Overall I would definitely recommend choosing to volunteer in a Scottish Youth Hostel for Duke of Edinburgh or any other reason. Everyone I met was really friendly, especially the manager, Jan. I had a great time during my stay and look forward to visiting a Scottish Youth Hostel again!
Biography for SYHA Hostelling Scotland
Scotland's best known network of youth hostels in stunning city & rural locations. Go on a #SYHAdventure! As a not-for-profit organisation, we encourage guests to join SYHA Hostelling Scotland. Members enjoy a range of exclusive benefits including dual membership of Hostelling International, providing access to more than 4,000 youth hostels in over 90 countries worldwide. Membership and guest overnight income supports our charitable youth programmes and the maintenance of the hostelling network, particularly in rural Scotland.