Dreaming of Black Sail

Published 19 April 2020

Approaching Black Sail Hostel at the head of Ennerdale
Approaching Black Sail Hostel at the head of Ennerdale

Recently someone emailed me telling me they quite missed A Sunday Picture – later known as The Weekly Photograph. Every Sunday I would post up a nice photograph and waffle a little about it. Time constraints meant I ended the feature in 2015, and I didn’t have any intention of bringing it back. But it was nice to know that it was missed by someone. Then something called Covid-19 happened. And all in all, it felt like 2020 might be a good point for it to return for a short while. It probably won’t be weekly – maybe fortnightly, maybe more, maybe less – we’ll see how it goes...

Like many people, I had plans for this year. Plans that – right now – I have no idea whether they will come to fruition.

One of my plans was to head to the Lake District. Crunching the numbers I reckoned 2020 would be the year I’d reach the half way point in my Wainwright bagging. I intended to do it in style. I intended to do some Wainwright bagging and stay at the idyllic looking Black Sail hostel.

I have wanted to stay at Black Sail for years. Almost ten years to be exact. Ever since I walked past it whilst doing the Coast to Coast in 2010. 2020 seemed to be a good year to visit.

For those that don’t know, Black Sail is an isolated hostel at the head of the Ennerdale valley. It’s two and a half miles away from a road. There’s no way to charge your phone. No mobile signal. No way to pay for anything by credit card. No Wi-Fi. This is the YHA’s most remote youth hostel.

Of course it’s still possible I’ll make it in 2020. But as I type it seems unlikely (I’m typing this at the end of March, a few weeks before it is scheduled to be published.)

So it will become a goal for 2021 instead. For no matter what happens in 2020, the hills will still be there.

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