Hostels in UK set to get green investment

YHA gets green investment

Youth Hostel Association in the UK is to invest in world famous Black Sail Youth Hostel to create a financially and environmentally sustainable hostel

The  much-loved Youth Hostel, YHA Black Sail in Ennerdale, Cumbria, is to undergo a £260,000 refurbishment, thanks to generous donations from YHA members, which will secure its future and enable it to open to visitors all year round.

YHA Black Sail is one of the oldest Youth Hostels in Britain and the warm hospitality, good food and intimate, communal atmosphere is much-loved by the thousands of walkers, climbers and cyclists who visit each year. The hostel is also popular with a number of celebrated adventurists including the mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington

The former shepherd’s bothy, which became a Youth Hostel in 1933, has remained unaltered for many years. The investment will not only weather-proof the building but also see reduced running costs through new energy saving measures and energy generation on site ensuring its future environmental and financial sustainability. Work is due to start in late February, subject to weather conditions, and the Youth Hostel will re-open at Easter 2013.

Improvements at YHA Black Sail include:

  • Replacement of an existing extension which will accommodate new battery storage, wood store and cycle storage
  • New oak framed, double glazed windows will reduce heat loss
  • Re-roofing of the original building in slate, with flat roof areas having a new green roof replacing mineral felt. All areas of the roof will have thermal insulation added
  • Installation of sun pipes to allow natural light into some of the darker areas of the building
  • Renewable energy will be generated on site with roof mounted photovoltaic panels. Hot water will be generated with solar panels and a new wood burning stove will provide heat and hot water
  • Electricity use will reduce with the installation of LED lighting
  • Water will be conserved with the introduction of aerated taps, dual flush toilets and percussion valves on showers

Sir Chris Bonington welcomed the investment saying; “YHA Black Sail is my favourite Youth Hostel - its position with its unspoilt environment, sense of being in the wild and its incredible view, combined with warm and friendly wardens who cook you a superb simple meal backed by an amazingly good small wine cellar, make it unique.  The improvements, which in no way affect the atmosphere, are the cream on top!!”

YHA has listened to feedback from members and visitors to the hostel and scaled back earlier development plans for this unique hostel to ensure the unique ambience of YHA Black Sail is retained following the completion of the improvements in April 2013.

The investment in YHA Black Sail is part of YHA’s Capital Investment Plan and it is one of five other Youth Hostels to undergo refurbishment, totalling £10 million, in the first quarter of 2013. As part of the investment the charity is also creating a brand new Youth Hostel in the South Downs.

Commenting on the Capital Investment Plan Caroline White, Chief Executive of YHA (England and Wales) said: “We’re continuing to invest in our hostels to make sure they continue to offer the great welcome and friendly stay of which we are rightly proud.”

The Charity has around 150 Youth Hostels throughout England and Wales. For further details of all Youth Hostels in England and Wales, or to make a booking, visit

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