YHA Black Sail

North West England Cumbria Kirkby Lonsdale

  • 16 beds (dorms).

A remote backpackers hostel, six miles from the nearest car park, which sits majestically amongst some of the Lake District's highest peaks.

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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.

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Reception open: 8am–10am and 5pm–10pm. Hostel closes at 10pm.


Beds from £21.50. Private rooms from £51.50. Available for exclusive hire from Autumn half term to the Easter holidays. No credit cards on site – cash or cheque only.

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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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Contact Website  0845 371 9680  YHA Black Sail, Ennerdale Cumbria CA23 3AY

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Getting There

The hostel is only accessible by foot or bike. The nearest road is 2 1/2 miles away by mountain path. Walking/cycling access only via Bowness Knot in the Ennerdale Valley, 6 miles. Also via Buttermere, 6 miles, Honister, 4 miles and Wastwater, 6 miles.


  • Bar
  • Credit cards not accepted
  • Dining area
  • Dorms - single sex
  • Drying room
  • Meals on request
  • Self Catering Available
  • Off-grid
  • Something Different

Related Guides

See Hostels in Kirkby Lonsdale


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