Interviews, Issue 11

Hostellers’ Q&A

We spoke to three outdoor enthusiasts to get their thoughts on dorms, dinners and day-walks.

Craig Scott
Director of Cyclewise

Countryside, city or coast?
Countryside all the way. While a trip to the city is nice once in a while, I need wide open spaces to feel at home – hence moving to the Lake District 25 years ago.

Favourite hostel?
Probably Torridon in the Scottish Highlands, but this may be through rose-tinted glasses. After an amazing few days mountain-biking in the area, the hostel offered the perfect mid-trip break.

Earliest YHA memory?
A second-hand memory based on stories and pictures, touring the Yorkshire Dales in the sidecar of my parents’ tandem.

Ideal overseas destination?
New Zealand. I spent three months there travelling and loved it. The terrain, the views, the people – it’s the perfect base for any outdoor activity.

Perfect hostel dinner?
When I get to a hostel late and tired I’m not fussy, as long as it’s hot, tasty and, most importantly, there’s plenty of it. With sticky toffee pudding for dessert.

An item to pack?
The essential bit of kit for everyone who spends time in the outdoors has to be the Original Buff. Without doubt the most versatile piece of clothing ever.

A book for a rainy day?
I’m a sucker for a guidebook. But I’d rather be out in the rain paddling/ riding/ walking/ climbing. As long as you have the right kit, the weather shouldn’t stop you.

Favourite day-walk?
The Lakeland high fells are where I feel at peace, but I would rather ride there than walk. Unless the conditions are right and then the ice axes can
come out.

Amy Powell
Blogger at mumupamountain.com

Countryside, city or coast?
Countryside – preferably with lumpy bits to climb up!

Favourite hostel?
YHA Ambleside – the views across Windermere are stunning and it’s within walking distance of some good pubs. Lots of great mountain walks on the doorstep too. I can’t fault it.

Earliest YHA memory?
YHA Ilam Hall in Derbyshire. I went with my mum when I was about 14. It was all a bit “rustic” back then, but I loved the sense of camaraderie.

Ideal overseas destination?
My son and I have a dream to walk to Everest Base Camp, so it would have to be Nepal. Failing that, Chamonix would be lovely.

Perfect hostel dinner?
A burger and a beer after a long day walking in the hills – perfect! I do love a YHA breakfast too though…

An item to pack?
My iPad – it’s my reading book, my magazine, my cinema (snuggled in my bunk), my route planner, my photo editor and my blog writer!

A book for a rainy day?
I’m currently reading “Seven Steps from Snowdon to Everest: A hill walker’s journey to the top of the world” by Mark Horrell.

Favourite day-walk?
So hard to pick just one. My son and I did Helvellyn via Striding Edge last July and that was a pretty special day. He was only 12 and it’s quite a challenging route.

Chris Cox
Manager at YHA Buttermere

Countryside, city or coast?
Countryside – as long as mountains are involved. I do enjoy a cultural break in a city as well though, York being a favourite.

Favourite hostel?
YHA Perfectdale would have to be up there, more commonly known as YHA Borrowdale. It’s in a fantastic location by the river and really close to some of the Lakes’ highest fells.

Earliest YHA memory?
Staying at YHA Ilam Hall, when I was 10, trying to avoid being garrotted by the (now thankfully defunct) orange nylon sheet sleeping bag.

Ideal overseas destination?
Somewhere in the Alps. Arolla in the Swiss Valais is a great base to explore the area, just watch out for the ladders at the Pas de Chèvres!

Perfect hostel dinner?
It has to be a stone-baked pizza – perfect after a day’s adventures on the fells.

An item to pack?
A head torch. Great for early starts outdoors – and for late trips back from the pub.

A book for a rainy day?
I tend to pore over maps more than books. The OS Northern England Road Map is good for plotting cycle routes.

Favourite day-walk?
Probably Scafell Pike from Eskdale, via Great Moss. This side feels really wild and has stunning views all the way.

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