Generations of walkers have made a grateful beeline for Ennerdale's majestically sited Black Sail stone 'hut', a former shepherds' bothy that serves as one of the UK's most renowned youth hostels. High up in the western fells – a good couple of hours' walk from anywhere, and six miles from the nearest car park on Ennerdale Water – this is more hikers' refuge than backpackers' hostel, offering basic – but very welcome – accommodation in the middle of dramatic walking country.
There are three bare bunkrooms (with a total of 16 beds), and you have to step outside to find the shower and toilet, but the always-open lounge is a real haven for passing hikers who often call in for a cuppa on their way up or down the mountains. The fire is lit most days and come the evening guests hunker down over a communal meal cooked by the wardens, as boots, clothes and anything else that got soaked that day gently steam by the stove. Ennerdale is also "Dark Sky" country, so bring binoculars for a spot of unrivalled star-gazing from right outside your mountain bunkroom.
Note – this is a walk-in only hostel, either up the valley from Ennerdale Water or (shorter but tougher) over the tops from Honister Pass. Be aware that there are no electric sockets (so no recharging) and only a limited mobile signal.
This hostel is also available for exclusive hire. Click here for details.
The Owner Says
For the ultimate 'green' experience YHA Black Sail can offer you breathtaking views in the most rural of locations. Only accessible by foot, this is the perfect retreat for lovers of the great outdoors. This hostel offers a true escape from the monotony of everyday life in the pure tranquility of the Lakes.
Recently refurbished, the hostel has been made more energy efficient and sustainable in every way possible. With the new additions of thermal insulation, solar panels, LED lighting and more, YHA Black Sail is on its way to being completely self-sufficient.
The location offers fantastic access to a number of nearby peaks, including Great Gable Pillar, Red Pike and Steeple. Meals are available every day to keep your energy up, with the option to self-cater if desired. After a long day exploring the Lakes, come back and curl up in our lounge, complete with wood-burning stove.
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