Whilst I was off galavanting around Scotland, a piece of good news was announced – Kirk Yetholm hostel is to re-open.
The hostel, sat at the end of the Pennine Way, didn’t re-open this year after the SYHA decided to close the hostel doors and put the building on the market. Given its prime position at the end of the Pennine Way and on the popular St Cuthbert’s Way, this seemed a surprising decision.
I stayed in Kirk Yetholm hostel in 2010 following an attempt to finish walking the Pennine Way which was called off due to snow. Whilst it was a rather faded hostel, in need of some refurbishment, it was a building with character and I was sad to see it go.
From a long distance walking perspective its closure was a sad loss too. For years it was possible to do the entire thing staying in YHA hostels. YHA closures over the years mean that that’s not possible any more, but with the aid of some independent hostels and bunkhouses, it’s still possible to do almost the entire route staying in cheap, affordable accommodation – as long as you’re prepared for the odd very long day anyway. Given staying in B&Bs can be incredibly expensive for the solo walker, it’s an important point.
But the closure of Kirk Yetholm left a gap at the end. The cash-conscious walker could either stump up for a hotel room or head out on the bus almost as soon as they got there. And to do that would be a real shame. Especially as The Border Inn in Kirk Yetholm provides perhaps the finest food on the entire walk.
That the hostel will be re-opening, supposedly this year and as an SYHA affiliated hostel, is cracking news. The reopened hostel will also be affiliated with the Friends of Nature group which promotes cheap eco-tourism.
The exact dates for re-opening have not been announced, although mid-August 2012 has been stated. On our visit it seemed that the hostel didn’t have any central heating, so no doubt it will only be open for a short time until the cold weather kicks in! Which on the basis of this summers weather will probably be early September…
Incidentally if you’re thinking about walking the Pennine Way, why not check out my guide to planning a trip on the Pennine Way which includes a full itinerary if you want to do the route staying in hostels.