Dreaming of Black Sail

Published 19 April 2020. Last updated 8 September 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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