Interviews, Issue 8

Hostellers Q&A

Hannah James

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

Hannah James

“Welsh girl, country girl, mountain girl”, and writer at hannahoutside.com

Countryside, city or coast?

It would have to be countryside. I’m a mountain girl through and through, but I grew up on a farm and it’s given me a healthy appreciation for our wonderful countryside.

Favourite hostel?

YHA Snowdon Bryn Gwynant. I have wonderful memories of staying here as a kid and this grew when I got older. As soon as I learnt to drive, I’d take myself off and away from everything and go have some mountain time to myself.

Earliest YHA memory?

YHA Snowdon Bryn Gwynant was the hostel my mum first took me, my sister and brother to as kids. It’s part of what got me hooked on mountains, and Snowdonia in particular.

Ideal overseas destination?

That’s a hard one. There’s so much to explore out there, but I’m pretty captivated by the idea of Chamonix. I’ve never been but I love the range of outdoor pursuits available there.

Perfect hostel dinner?

After a long day of having fun? Bolognese!

An item to pack?

Easy – Kindle!

A book for a rainy day?

Hmm. I loved the Game of Thrones books and haven’t yet found any quite as epic and gripping a read as those. Any suggestions welcome!

Favourite day-walk?

Another hard one. Probably the route I did when I was staying at YHA Snowdon Bryn Gwynant. Up the Pyg track as early as possible in the morning, down the South Ridge and back to the hostel.

Here’s Hannah exploring Snowdonia with YHA…

Chris-Edis

Chris Edis

Manager at YHA Borrowdale and keen fell runner

Countryside, city or coast?

Being in the countryside means being close to adventurous activities. I don’t need holidays – I get what I’m looking for when I leave work!

Favourite hostel?

YHA Buttermere. I spent two and a half carefree years working there when I started with YHA and it’s one of the most underrated locations in the whole of the UK – it’s a tiny Switzerland.

Earliest YHA memory?

Staying at YHA Keswick in the late 1990s for my first trip away without the parents, and getting banned for dyeing the bathroom pink!

Ideal overseas destination?

Somewhere with a lot of mountains, and ideally as unexplored as you can get these days. I enjoy going to places not many people know about.

Perfect hostel dinner?

Something hearty, home-cooked and made with locally sourced ingredients. We did a beef, beer and lentil stew that was excellent.

An item to pack?

A down jacket – I’ve got a 10-year-old Rab jacket that’s been patched up loads, but it’s the most comforting item of clothing you can ever wear.

A book for a rainy day?

I like Russian literature because it whisks you away – proper escapism. The books are dense and thick and pretty much never-ending.

Favourite day-walk?

I’d usually run it, but it would be Rannerdale Knots from YHA Buttermere out of nostalgia. When I worked there I’d run it five or six times a week. It’s a hill that hardly anyone goes up and the views are amazing.

Zoe Hudson

Zoe Hudson

Outdoor blogger at zooutdoors.wordpress.com

Countryside, city or coast?

Countryside, preferably in the mountains – although the coast comes a very close second.

Favourite hostel?

I can’t think of one with a more spectacular setting than YHA Pwll Deri, on the cliffs in Pembrokeshire.

Earliest YHA memory?

It wasn’t that early, but a trip to YHA Ambleside with friends while at university opened my eyes to the great locations you find YHAs in.

Ideal overseas destination?

I’m beyond excited to hopefully get my first visit to the Himalayas later this year. And from the tried and tested perspective, New Zealand.

Perfect hostel dinner?

Packet noodles elevated to haute cuisine with green veg and peanuts, followed by yoghurt or ice cream and washed down with a local ale.

An item to pack?

Jelly Babies, a map, and one more layer than you could possibly need – just in case you or someone else needs it out on the hills.

A book for a rainy day?

A climbing autobiography. My favourites include Climbing Free by Lynn Hill and Psychovertical by Andy Kirkpatrick.

Favourite day-walk?

I’ve loved them all, but a winter’s day out on Ben Ledi above Callander really sticks in my mind. Blissful views and plenty of snow.

Want to appear here in the next issue? Email your interest to [email protected]

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