IT’S THE OPTIMAL MIX OF RESOLUTE DESIGN AND FLAWLESS FUNCTIONALITY THAT MAKES OUR PACKS THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR MOMENTS LIKE THIS
Welcome I’m delighted to welcome you to the first edition of Live More YHA, a new quarterly publication aimed at showcasing the best of England and Wales across coast, countryside and city. We hope it also gives you a greater insight into the work we do as a charitable organisation. It’s our 85th anniversary year, and here at YHA we remain firm believers in the fact that adventure, activity and fresh experience have the potential to enhance lives. In this first issue we hike the full length of the fabled Snowdon Horseshoe, visit the Royal Pavilion and skim pebbles on a family trip to Brighton, plus hear from Ben Fogle on his love of the outdoors. We also speak to Alan Hinkes, YHA Ambassador and the first Brit to climb all the world’s mountains over 8,000m, to hear his take on exploring the UK. Elsewhere you’ll also find how-to tips on map reading, cookery and stargazing. We live in a truly special part of the world, full of adventurerich landscapes and culturally unique towns and cities. So whether you’re a valued member, a long-term supporter or just a friend of the organisation, we hope the following pages give you the desire and motivation to get out and explore even more of England and Wales – no matter what your age.
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Over 150 places to stay, limitless possibilities
East Midlands East of England Wales
Heart of England
The Island of Jersey
06 Stepping Out: your latest news
38 How To... spot planets, cook a quick
18 The Snowdon Horseshoe - the
40 Gear: essential kit for outdoor
22 Brighton with the family - sun,
42 Ben Fogle on his love of the
30 London for ÂŁ10 - ten creative
44 Pictures from your adventures
34 Alan Hinkes - the mountaineer
45 COMPETITION: Win a pair of
and events, plus trip ideas
UKâ€™s most epic one-day walk?
sealife and sand (well, pebbles) options for enjoying the capital shares his favourite UK places
paella and navigate a map exploration
and #LiveMoreYHA tweets
Hanwag walking boots
Stepping Out: 85th Anniversary
85 years in the making In 1930, a group of volunteers set up an association to provide young working people with an affordable escape. YHA was born. The date was December 1930, the place Pennant Hall in North Wales. It’s now 85 years since the first YHA property opened its doors, but our overall mission as a charitable organisation has stayed clear: to inspire all, especially young people, to broaden their horizons, gaining knowledge and independence through new experiences of adventure and discovery.
world today, but our core values – adventure, inclusivity, freedom, experience and discovery – remain as relevant and important as ever.
To help them appreciate the lifeenhancing rewards of the coast and the countryside. To allow them to enjoy and understand the cultural value of our towns and cities.
We pride ourselves on providing unique opportunities to grow, explore, relax and learn, and we’re still fully committed to reaching and inspiring the lives of one million young people a year by 2017.
It’s been a remarkable eight and a half decades. We live in a different
DID YOU KNOW? 6
We’re delighted that last year we worked with more than 515,000 young people, something that simply wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our members and partners.
Here’s to the next 85 years.
In 1952 the first YHA Songbook was produced, to encourage common room singalongs.
Stepping Out: 85th Anniversary
Left-right from top: John (Jac k) Catchpool at the opening of YHA Black Sail. 14th April 1933. An early official photograph of young members. Self catering at YHA Arundel in 1951. YHA Members walking. c. 1945. Country dancing, 1939 -style, Llangollen. The opening of YHA Ilam Hall, 1935. The road to YHA Nant-y-Dernol, mid Wales, 1972 .
Also in 1930...
1930: The first YHA Hostel is inaugurated. 1931: A further 75 hostels open across England & Wales. 1945: Membership numbers double by the close of WWII. 1950: A peak year, with a total of 303 hostels open. 1980s: National framework fully established. 2002: YHA head office moves from St Albans to Matlock. 2013: The Queen officially unveils YHA South Downs. 2015: YHA celebrates its 85th anniversary.
Englishwoman Amy Johnson flies solo from London to Australia… Uruguay win first FIFA World Cup… Arthur Ransome publishes Swallows and Amazons… Sean Connery is born
Stepping Out: Cycling
Changing gear YHA invests £270,000 in cycling facilities
The future is two-wheeled. Here at YHA we’ve always worked hard to make our hostels the perfect fit for active travellers, and we’re delighted to announce that we’re investing a total of £270,000 in creating new and improved cycling facilities at dozens of our most bike-friendly properties. The money – of which £161,500 came from the Peak District National Park Authority – is going directly towards providing cyclists of all ages with even more reasons to get out and explore the UK. Among other things, guests will be able to benefit from cycle repair and maintenance stations, new and expanded secure storage areas, bike washing and bike spares. So whether you need a replacement inner tube, somewhere to clean off muddy tyres or just the peace of mind that comes from overnight security, we’re here to oblige. 8
Britain has a world-class network of cycle routes, and many of our hostels sit in glorious locations widely renowned for their bike trails. The first swathe of properties to benefit from the initiative are prime examples. And excitingly, this is just the first phase in the initiative – more cycling developments will be announced later in the year. The 25 hostels receiving investment this year are: YHA Berwick YHA Bristol YHA Castleton YHA Conwy YHA Dartmoor YHA Eastbourne YHA Edale YHA Eden Project YHA Eyam YHA Hartington Hall YHA Hathersage YHA Hawkshead YHA Helmsley
YHA Holmbury St Marys YHA Ilam Hall YHA Keswick YHA London Lee Valley YHA Malham YHA National Forest YHA Ravenstor YHA South Downs YHA Swanage YHA Truleigh Hill YHA Wye Valley YHA Youlgreave
Stepping Out: Cycling / News
3 of the best... hostel-tohostel bike rides 1. YHA South Downs > YHA Eastbourne Pedal across the Downs for fine rolling views 2. YHA Hartington > YHA Ravenstor Join the trails and cycle through the White Peak 3. YHA Alnwick > YHA Berwick upon Tweed Enjoy the sweeping scenery of the North East coastline
YHA news • Cyclists pedal on their stomachs, so the 2015 opening of our new YHA Cafes gives good reason to be cheerful. Now up and running in 18 hostels around the country, they offer everything from baguettes and paninis to coffees and cream teas – there’s even a delicious kids’ menu.
• YHA Once Brewed will close in September 2015, to re-emerge in summer 2017 as the innovative 86-bed YHA Hadrian’s Wall at the Sill. We’re delighted to share that it received £7.8m of Heritage Lottery Funding earlier this year. To find out more about this hugely exciting project – or even to donate – visit yha.org.uk/thesill
• YHA Llywn y Celyn is no longer – but in name only. The 41-bed Welsh farmhouse’s title has been replaced by the more straightforward YHA Brecon Beacons. After all, when you’ve got a region as stunning as the Beacons on your doorstep, it’s best to shout about it.
• Lonely Planet has named Kent as one of Europe’s top family destinations, highlighting attractions such as the White Cliffs, Leeds Castle, Canterbury and Margate. We have two hostels in the county, both well placed for further exploration: YHA Medway and YHA Canterbury.
Stepping Out: Q&A We spoke to two members and a hostel manager to get their thoughts on dorms, dinners and day-walks
Want to appear here in the next issue? Email your interest to email@example.com
Youngest ever person to walk around Wales continuously
Mountain, city or coast? Favourite hostel
Earliest YHA memory Ideal room mate Perfect hostel dinner
YHA Kington. It’s in a market town along Offa’s Dyke Path. It’s not very big but you usually find some interesting characters because it’s a bit out of the way. You get dedicated walkers with some stories to tell. The first hostel I stayed in as a kid with my family was YHA Newport in Pembrokeshire. There are great walks along both Pembrokeshire coasts and lots of beaches. Someone that when we both get in from a big day out we can share stories about our walk, preferably over some ales. You can get some really good meals in hostels these days. They understand you need big portions after a long day on the hills. I recently had a really good chicken curry at YHA Keswick.
An item to pack
I try to bring a book that I’m about to finish so I can leave it the dorm and, if I’m lucky, exchange it with another one.
A book for a rainy day
It would probably be something about the local area, local walks, and maybe poems from a local writer.
It has to be mountains where I feel most at home, but being by the coast is a close second.
It would have to be in the Brecon Beacons, along the waterfalls in the Neath Valley from Pontneddfechan. You can walk behind some of them.
Stepping Out: Q&A
Manager at YHA London Lee Valley
Leader of local walking group since 1981
Coast, no question. I was brought up in the North East and I love the sea – it clears the cobwebs away.
I prefer the mountains for hostelling. After a long day on the fells it’s always good to share stories with other walkers and cyclists.
Am I allowed two? From a city point of view, YHA York. It’s been refurbed in the last two years and it’s amazing. My other would be YHA Boggle Hole. It’s like another world.
My favourite YHA property is Longthwaite at Borrowdale. It’s in a great location, surrounded by hills, so you can walk in all four directions.
I youth hostelled at school on geography field trips. We went across to the Lake District and stayed at YHA Hawkshead and YHA Windermere.
My earliest memory of hostelling was in Bath in 1969 when I was on a school trip. Lots of walking, writing notes and looking for the signs of spring!
Ideally no snorers! For me it would be like-minded people who want to appreciate the area they’re in. And I like people who are up for talking too.
Other than my wife, it would be someone who doesn’t snore and has excellent personal hygiene!
Home-made food with everyone chipping in. YHA runs something called Supper Club, which is just that – a time for everyone to eat together. Something filling – cottage pie’s always good.
Something tasty like fish or pasta, washed down with at least two o glasses of wine.
A towel. Although shamefully, working for YHA for four and a half years, it’s the one thing I always forget!
There are a number of things I alw always pack but I’ll always have the appropriate maps and Wainwright with me.....on the fells and also in the evening at the pub to plan the next day’s walk.
Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon. It appreciates how different people think and feel.
I still walk on rainy days. There’s no such thing as bad weather.......just wrong clothes!
That’s hard! Anywhere on the coast really. The Coast & Castles route in the North East would be a big favourite.
In the Lakes, start at The Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, walk up The Band, across The Climbers Traverse, up The Great Slab to Bowfell, onwards to Esk Pike and Great End and then back to Langdale via Angle Tarn and into the Climbers Bar....perfect! 11
Stepping Out: YHA Day
Open doors and pop-up shops YHA Day returns for 2015 with more events than ever Get the dates in your diary. YHA Day is back! Taking place for a third consecutive year, the weekend showcase returns for 2015 on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 September at hostels across the country. We like to see it as our chance to show people what we’re all about – with tea and cake into the bargain – and more than 100 of our properties will be staging one-off special events. We’ll be highlighting just how much England and Wales have to offer by turning a dozen of these hostels into action-packed “Regional Hubs” for the weekend. YHA Ambleside, for example, will be highlighting the adventure potential of the Lake District, while YHA South Downs will be inspiring visitors to explore more of the glorious South East. Elsewhere, a further ten hostels will be running pop-up shops selling vintage and recycled goods: a nod to our green ethos, as well as a chance to raise valuable money for our Breaks for Kids bursary fund. 12
The remaining properties will be holding fun “open-door” events, giving all-comers the chance to relax, meet new people and find out more about the work we do. You’ll find a list of hostels participating in YHA Day at yha.org.uk/yhaday. • If you’re interested in volunteering on YHA Day, call 01629 592562, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit yha.org. uk/volunteering. You can also sign up to receive our volunteering newsletter.
5th & 6th September
All over the country we are flinging our doors open Live music oor activities Outdoor Family fun Pop-up charity shops
BBQs Bak Bake offs Local beers and much, much more www.yha.org.uk/yhaday
Stepping Out: New Hostels
Welcome to YHA Cardiff! The state-of-the-art YHA Cardiff Central was unveiled in March, offering 320 beds in a brilliant central location and occupying what was once a four-star hotel. Well suited to everyone from independent travellers and school parties to nightlife-lovers and conference groups, it’s a property that we’re hugely proud of. Look out for the fantastic handpainted murals in the bar area.
Three other new properties to try The rave reviews being generated by the new YHA Eden Project are unsurprising – open since October, our “snoozebox” hostel accommodates 234 people in 60 modern en-suite bedrooms made from old shipping containers. Following eight months of refurbishment, YHA Boggle Hole reopened in May. The uniquely located hostel, sitting in Robin Hood’s Bay within the North York Moors National Park, has benefitted from a whopping £1.2m investment and has an array of new features. YHA Brighton, our spectacular new “luxury hostel” in the seaside city, was opened in November last year. With 180 beds across 51 rooms, and a setting in a gorgeous Regency building, it’s superbly placed for the main attractions.
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Stepping Out: Breaks for Kids
Breaks for Kids YHA supports adventure breaks for children. It relies on the backing of its members. A big thank you — you’ve helped more than half a million youngsters There’s a very simple reason why we’re so passionate about our Breaks for Kids charitable fund. We believe that every young person should have the opportunity to travel to new places and discover new environments away from home with their friends. We know from long involvement how valuable, how eye-opening – and in some cases, how life-changing – these experiences can be. They help children to grow in confidence, to increase self-awareness and to achieve a sense of belonging. We make a real effort to price our residential adventure breaks for schools and other youth groups as generously as possible, but sadly not all families are in a position to be able to send their children away. That’s where Breaks for Kids come in. The bursary fund contributes up to 50% of the cost of accommodation and meals
DID YOU KNOW? 16
for young people from lower-income households. In doing so, it helps give more children the chance to see more of the country, and more of life. Generously supported by many of you reading this, the fund provides financial support to thousands of young people every year. Thank you for enabling Breaks for Kids to support so many children. It makes a real difference. • Looking to apply for funding? Please visit yha.org.uk/school-trips/funding • You can visit justgiving.com/yha to donate, or to speak to the Fundraising Team please call 01629 592 700. You can give £3 right now by texting ‘YHAK15£3’ to ‘70070’ and make a difference today.
Last year 518,565 young people had a YHA experience. Of these, 387,180 stayed with us. 7,500 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds benefited from our Breaks for Kids bursary grant. In 2014 YHA awarded grants totalling £278,000.
Stepping Out: Breaks for Kids
What makes Breaks for Kids so special? Alistair Boyd, manager, YHA Castleton “To put it simply, it lets us give kids access to a world they wouldn’t otherwise experience. So many parents in our catchment area simply can’t afford the full price of a school trip, so having that extra funding is such a vital thing. A lot of the time we’re welcoming inner-city kids who have never spent a night away from home – some have never even seen sheep – so the whole adventure is a really important step in terms of growing up and gaining independence. It can be hugely rewarding seeing their reactions. Bursary funds like this really are why YHA exists.”
Tackling the Horseshoe I’m glad I didn’t opt for the lie-in. It’s never a chore to greet a clear day by pulling on a pair of boots and yomping up a Welsh mountain, but an early start always seems to heighten the experience. It’s nudging 7.00am – a time, by rights, when sensible folk should be rolling over in bed and turning their thoughts to tea and toast – and I’m striding steadily up the Pyg Track. Deep-green valleys are spilling away to the northwest, and up ahead are the silent crags and cols of the tallest peak in England and Wales. That extra hour in bed can wait. I’m walking the Snowdon Horseshoe, the looped, six-hour hike that lays strong claim to being the best oneday walk in the country. The mountain itself means different things to different people, partly because there are so many ways of getting to and from the summit. From the less-than-exerting trundle of the Mountain Railway to the upper-reach scree-scramble of the Watkin Path, it lays on options for walkers, and indeed non-walkers, of all abilities. It’s best seen as a world to itself, an ageless, 360-degree spread 18
Is this Britain’s best mountain day out? James Ottery crosses the knife-edge ridge to Snowdon
of rocky clefts, gnarled precipices and long spurs of sheep-roamed land fanning out into the wider range. The classic route of the Horseshoe makes its ascent initially via the Pyg Track, then across the infamous Crib Goch ridge. This is resolutely never an option to be taken lightly – serious accidents can, and do, happen – but this morning’s conditions are benign and, once I’ve hoiked myself up to the buttress, crossing the knife-edge arête is a moment of thrilling aloneness. (Sticking to the scenic Pyg Track throughout is a fine alternative ascent for those who wish to avoid Crib Goch, and it still allows the Horseshoe to be walked.) After negotiating the airy and jagged ridgeback across to the top of Garnedd Ugain – where the trig point marks the second highest peak in Wales – my trail then converges with the Llanberis Path, generally the busiest of the mountain’s trails, for the final stretch to the top. When I run out of uphill, I look down and see the country outspread. It’s taken me about three hours, all of them hard on the legs but deeply enjoyable, and the
The Essentials • Never underestimate the mountain. Stick to paths that match your experience and ability, know where you’re going and always carry adequate clothing, a water-proofed map and a compass. • Check the weather. Wind, rain and cloud can make things very dicey very quickly. MWIS (www. mwis.org.uk) gives detailed Snowdonia forecasts, and the Met Office has summit updates.
Looking towards the Snowdon summit over Crib Goch
choughs and wheatears that have kept me company have put a lie to the claim that Snowdon is always over-crowded in summer. Yr Wyddfa, as the peak is known in Welsh, is a hill rich in stories, a strong and immoveable alp with countless different paths and countless different moods. Legendary mountaineering names like Sir Edmund Hillary and George Mallory both trained here for their Everest expeditions. Lots of hillwalkers have an issue with the fact that there’s now a visitor centre and café at the summit. I have some sympathy with this, but would also
be lying if I said I disliked the novelty of being able to order a slice of cake after hacking up a mountain. I settle at a table and tuck in, fortifying myself for the descent. Over the previous hour or so, low white clouds have been threatening to draw in. Now they settle in for good, cloaking the kilometre-high top of Snowdon in a familiar fug of white. It means a slow clamber just to reach my downward route, the handsome fin-like outcrop of Y Lliwedd (another stretch not to be walked with overconfidence if the weather’s iffy). When I’ve arrived low enough for good visibility to return, 19
however, it makes the clarity and scale of the landscape all the more raw and imposing. From here, the trail curls its way down and round to the east, granting a yawning, falcon-flown view not just of the region but of the first half of the route. After snaking down to the banks of the brooding blue Llyn Llydaw – a lake bound up in Arthurian legends – it leads easily to Pen y Pass, where ales and armchairs await. At only around seven miles in duration, the Snowdon Horseshoe is more of a work-out than its modest length might suggest. It’s also an unforgettable walk. There are countless ways up and down the mountain, but I know of none more exhilarating.
• The historic YHA Pen y Pass, which has benefited from a recent refurbishment, sits at the start and end point of the Snowdon Horseshoe. There are also four other YHA hostels in direct proximity to the mountain. yha.org.uk/hostel/snowdon-pen-y-pass
Visitors’ book found at YHA Pen-y-Pass featuring some rather famous names. Now on display at the YHA Historical Archive.
6 other great Snowdonia adventures Zip World Velocity Soar high above the Penrhyn Quarry on the longest zipline in Europe, and the fastest in the world. You’ll reach speeds of more than 100mph. Bounce Below Like the idea of walkways, slides and giant trampolines in a slate cavern? Head to the subterranean grown-ups’ playground at Bounce Below. There’s also a kids’ area. Biking at Coed-y-Brenin Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, Coedy-Brenin has some of the most pulse-raising loops and trails in the country.
Rafting at Bala The National White Water Centre makes use of the wild River Tryweryn – and a dam-controlled system means the rapids are strong even in summer. Horse-riding Snowdonia’s not just for hikers and bikers – it’s also beautiful terrain for slow days on horseback. Various operators offer trips. Rock-climbing There’s good reason why Sir Edmund Hillary and his team trained in Snowdonia for their 1953 Everest ascent. It’s a superb place to (literally) learn the ropes.
READER OFFER! 20% off
accommodation at YHA Snowdon Pen-y-Pass for families and individuals. Book between 11 Aug 31 Oct 2015 for stay between 1 Sep - 18 Dec 2015 Quote EXPLORE-100 when booking at yha.org.uk
Y Lliwedd and Llyn Llydaw as seen from Crib Goch
Exclusive hire in Snowdonia A large number of YHAs are available for exclusive hire, including 21 in Wales, six of them in and around Snowdonia: YHA Llanberis: On hillside close to town. Sleeps 30. YHA Snowdon Ranger: One-time inn on the western edge of the park. Sleeps 30. YHA Idwal Cottage: Our longest-running Welsh hostel. Sleeps 36 YHA Conwy: This modern property has different bed options. Sleeps 40, 60 or 80. YHA Rowen: A characterful old hill farmstead. Sleeps 20. YHA Bryn Gwynant: A beautifully located former coach house. Sleeps 30. 21
Sharks and Chandeliers Sometimes headlines take forever to write, sometimes they write themselves, and on some occasions – well, this one – a four-year-old does. In response to Mummy’s enquiry about the best things about her Daddyand-daughter weekend in Brighton, she replies: “the sharks and the chandeliers.” The chandelier in question is suspended in the Banqueting Hall of the mesmerisingly OTT Royal Pavilion. It’s 30 feet tall, weighs one ton and hangs from the claws of a colossal dragon. Below, six smaller dragons breathe through glass shades, and lustrous 22
Daniel Neilson finds that Brighton is one huge, brightly lit playground for all ages
chains hang down above a banqueting table (where no less than 130 dishes were served when the Russian Tsar’s brother visited the Prince Regent). It’s impossible not to be impressed by the ostentatiousness of the Prince’s seaside holiday home. For a four-yearold it’s overwhelming, and evidently makes quite an impression. Over the next few days she tells everyone she meets about it – before explaining the frankly bizarre sex life of seahorses. We’ve come for the weekend, partly to give Mum and a new-born a bit of a break, partly for a bit of quality
time together, and partly because Daddy has his eyes on a rather good record shop. And that is the beauty of Brighton: whether it’s a swanky weekend full of cocktails and dancing, a seaside break with the kids, all fishand-chips and skimming stones, or a day scoping out some of the country’s best independent shops, Brighton has it all in, ahem, spades. Arriving at the train station, it soon becomes apparent the attractions for the little ones are more diverse than I’d imagined. It’s about a 20-minute walk from the station to YHA Brighton, a new addition to the YHA portfolio, but to get there requires navigating the city’s most colourful quarter: North Laine (not to be confused with the nearby shopping labyrinth of The Lanes). In North Laine this hot Saturday, bunting hangs from the narrow streets and market stalls crowd the roads. Murals light up the façades and street performers blast out music. It’s like being momentarily dipped in a weekend at Glastonbury, with less mud. There are bead shops, old toy
shops and bakeries selling Portuguese custard tarts – we visit all of them. We check in to the YHA, which inhabits an old Regency building. One of the most stylish hostels in the country? Without doubt. It’s probably best described as ‘quite Brighton’. Local artists have decorated the walls of the dining room and café-bar, and its location couldn’t be more central. All of our planned activities, including fish and chips on the seafront, are, remarkably, less than a five-minute walk away. Now, trying to explain the Prince Regent to children, the edited version, is tricky. Fortunately, more talented people than I have thought about this and there’s a superb audio guide for youngsters at the Royal Pavilion. Her eyes shine at the indulgent, almost unbelievably flamboyant, Chineseinspired decoration and she relates the stories back to me through the guide. From there, it’s back past the hostel to Sea Life Brighton. Aquariums always seem to be winners with children, especially when they involve getting up close with sharks and seeing giant 23
Feature: Brighton sea turtles with heads bigger than mine. It’s dark, loud and fun, but there’s also an educational message.
Four more ideas for family fun close to Brighton
From the aquarium we spend the afternoon wandering around the pier and trundling along the Volk’s Electric Railway with ice creams. And of course Brighton’s biggest attraction is the beach. It’s what attracted the Prince Regent to the town in the late 1700s, and it’s what attracts millions of visitors every year.
• Get back to nature at Devil’s Dyke on the top of the South Downs • Explore the quaint town of Lewes with a revolutionary past • Get up close to camels and meerkats at Drusillas Park zoo • Go crabbing off Littlehampton Waterfront
There are plenty more sights to take children to, but wandering back through North Laine the next day, it’s the life on the streets that we remember most. Puppet shows and giant bubble blowers, musicians, hawkers and artists, restaurants spilling out onto the pavements and lively market stalls. Brighton is one of the most vibrant and colourful towns in the country – and that appeals to kids of all ages. My daughter now has a favourite YHA – it’s the perfect base to explore the city, and we’ll be back soon to tick off what we missed.
READER OFFER! 20% OFF accommodation at YHA Brighton for families and individuals. Book between 11 Aug - 31 Oct 2015 for stay between 1 Sep - 18 Dec 2015. Quote EXPLORE-100 when booking at yha.org.uk
Four other great family options YHA Hartington Hall: A Peak District manor house with pets’ area, games room and a playground. YHA Tanners Hatch: An eco-friendly getaway in the Surrey Hills. Outdoor barbecues welcome. YHA Stratford-upon-Avon: A great base for an educational break in Shakespeare Country. YHA St Briavels Castle: How often do kids get the chance to sleep in an 800-year-old castle?
Feature: Ben Spurway
Running the world In preparation for an epic 800km race, adventurer Ben Spurway and his teammates are using YHAs as bases for their training If you’ve stayed at YHA Keswick or YHA Eskdale recently and crossed paths with a particularly steely-eyed group of outdoor-lovers, it could well be that you came face to face with Ben Spurway and his friends. The 43-yearold military reservist is one of a group of four who have been using our Lake District properties as training bases, in preparation for a decidedly extreme adventure race next year. Billed as the world’s toughest, wildest event, the Patagonian Expedition Race is returning in February 2016 and will see Ben and his team take on a savagely difficult ten-day trail through the remotest parts of Chilean Patagonia. By the time they cross 26
the finish line, they will have travelled 800 kilometres by trekking, climbing, kayaking and mountain biking. “The weather down there is fairly extreme,” says Ben, sounding remarkably chipper for someone a few months away from the start. “The next stop south is Antarctica. We’ve seen accounts of previous races and some of the videos are quite horrific. We’ve got a friend down there who’s advised us to train in gales – the wind can often be strong enough to blow you off your mountain bike.” If this all seems at the more intense end of the outdoor spectrum, then Ben does at least have the necessary
“I “I enjoy enjoy staying staying at at YHA YHA Llanberis Llanberis and YHA Bryn Gwynant, and YHA Bryn Gwynant, and and I’ve I’ve got got plans plans to to get get back back to to YHA YHA Pen Pen y Pass Pass – I can’t can’t wait wait to to see see how how it’s it’s been been redone.” redone.” Ben Spurway Ben Spurway
experience. He became involved in the Scout movement from a young age before becoming an Outward Bound TrustTM instructor in his twenties. He’s led mountain expeditions on four continents, as well as working in humanitarian response for ShelterBox in countries like Haiti, Kenya and El Salvador. He’s also completed an operational tour of Afghanistan as a reservist. And there is, of course, a higher purpose behind the team’s adventures. They’re raising money for Green Sentinels, an organisation that works to help injured service personnel, particularly those with post-traumatic stress disorder. All team members will be raising funds for their preferred charities, namely ShelterBox,
Feature: Ben Spurway
the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, the Royal Marsden and Help for Heroes. Back in the UK, Ben remains a committed lover of the British outdoors. “I’ve been very fortunate to work in both Wales and the Lake District,” he says. “I’m always keen to get up to the Lakes – it’s such a beautiful part of the world. I like ridges too, so I love Snowdonia. I recently did an earlymorning ascent via Crib Goch at 4am. I enjoy staying at YHA Llanberis and YHA Bryn Gwynant, and I’ve got plans to get back to YHA Pen y Pass – I can’t wait to see how it’s been redone.” If you’d like to support the team’s efforts, visit greensentinels.uk to find out more. 27
YHA Membership Save money every time you stay with us • Enjoy up to £3 off per night when you stay with us • Access to over 4,000 hostels worldwide • Get priority notification of special offers by email • Receive regular doses of inspiration and the latest news in our monthly
newsletter, The Wanderer • Save £30 when you book a whole hostel through YHA Exclusive Hire • Enjoy great savings with our travel, high street brand and tourist attraction partners • Get kitted out for your next adventure with 15% off Cotswold Outdoor • Go to www.yha.org.uk/membership for a full list of benefits
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Buy membership now 28
How to claim your benefits To claim your YHA membership discounts, follow these steps: 1.
Log in/Register on www.yha.org.uk with the email address you provided when you purchased your membership
Once you arrive at “My Profile” click the “Member Benefits” tab
This will provide you with discount codes for our partners and a button to access over 350 discounts on high street brands
Bringing you gr great a benefits from the likes of:
Claim your free copy of Country Walking, Trail or any other Bauer title Call 0800 665 442 and quote YHAA to claim your free magazine delivered to your door. (Magazines to choose from include: Match, Grazia, Car, Country Walking, Bird Watching, Trail, Top Santé, Garden News, Heat, FHM) Terms & Conditions: This code entitles the holder to one free issue including postage of a selection of magazines promoted in this offer. This code can only be used by telephone when calling 0800 665 442. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Lines open 9.30am-8.30pm Mon-Fri and 10am-1.30pm on Sat. Calls are free from a BT landline. Calls from mobiles and other providers may vary. Offer available for UK addresses only and subject to availability. You will receive the next issue of your chosen magazine, which could take up to 6 weeks to be delivered. Offer closes 31st Dec 2015 and is limited to one copy per UK household. This offer is provided by Bauer Media and the promoter is YHA.
Feature: London < £10
10 things to do in London for under a tenner London is one of the most exciting cities on the planet, but enjoying it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Here’s our list of ten things to do for under £10 – and you’ll steer clear of tourist crowds too... Visit a Hindu temple
Find cheap live music
Once the biggest Hindu temple outside India, the extraordinary BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Temple dominates the Neasden skyline. Time Out has called it one of London’s Seven Wonders – it’s a fascinating place to visit and offers free guided tours. londonmandir.baps.org
Away from the mega-venues, you’ll find some excellent options for quality live music without the painful ticket prices. Our top two picks? Ain’t Nothin’ But, a tiny Soho blues bar with free nightly acts, and St-Martins-in-the-Field, which has regular free lunchtime recitals. aintnothinbut.co.uk stmartin-in-the-fields.org
Swim in the Olympic pool Has it really been three years since London 2012? Revisit the occasion by clocking up a few lengths at the London Aquatic Centre, where everyone from Michael Phelps to Ellie Simmonds performed to capacity crowds. An adult swim starts at just £3.50. londonaquaticscentre.org 30
Learn to bell-ring London has more than 100 churches and buildings with bells hung for group-ringing. If you’d like to be part of the city-wide chorus that breaks out each Sunday – and it’s a good keep-fit workout too! – register at mcaldg.org.uk
Feature: London < £10
Go to a non-league football match Check out old originals Struggling to get a ticket for Arsenal or Chelsea? Enjoy 90 minutes at a nonleague club instead, and experience a more authentic local atmosphere in a city that loves its football. Try Enfield Town FC, Bromley FC or the 125-yearold Corinthian-Casuals FC.
The British Library is home to one of London’s least-known cultural gems. The St John Ritblat Treasures Gallery, open seven days a week and free to enter, holds everything from Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook and John Lennon’s handwritten lyrics to a note penned by Henry VIII. bl.uk
Eat Pie and Mash London’s dining scene is hugely cosmopolitan, but there’s no more traditional meal than pie and mash, a tasty and affordable dish still served at a handful of atmospheric old outlets. The most famous, M. Manze, has three London restaurants. manze.co.uk
Where to stay? YHA has seven hostels in and around London with beds from £15. Find out more at: yha.org.uk/places-to-stay/london
Feature: London < £10
Walk the Thames Path St Paul’s, Big Ben, Tower Bridge – see it all on a walk along the Thames Path. Enjoy short stretches, or try the full 36 miles from the Thames Barrier to Hampton Court Palace. nationaltrail.co.uk/thames-path
Three timeless London album covers, and where to go to recreate them
Laugh it up Angel Comedy has gratis stand-up comedy seven nights a week, within a reasonable walk of YHA St Pancras. Expect a mix of big names and new talent. Its motto? “Always Free, Always Funny”. angelcomedy.co.uk
Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? This familiar cover image was shot in Berwick Street, Soho, down which you’ll still find some great music stores.
Wander Columbia Road flower market Open on Sundays from 8 until 3, this weekly flower market transforms Columbia Road into a world of foliage and flowers. There’s plenty in the way of music, food and drink. columbiaroad.info
The Beatles – Abbey Road Follow the Fab Four by visiting St John’s Wood, where you’ll find the famous crossing steps away from the Abbey Road recording studio itself.
The Clash – The Clash Mimic Joe Strummer and friends by heading to the Proud Gallery in Camden (although note: the ramp on the iconic cover is now a set of steps!). 32
Making adventures real. yha.org.uk/adventure 33
Feature: Great Adventres
Great adventures with... Alan Hinkes Alan Hinkes was the first Briton to climb all 14 of the world’s 8,000m peaks. He was awarded the OBE in 2006 and is the first YHA Ambassador – he’s also a past recipient of the coveted Yorkshireman of the Year title. Here he chooses his nine greatest adventures in England and Wales.
“Picking nine hostels for an adventure is easy – but which nine? I could easily pick 20! My adventures are mostly in the hills, fells, mountains, dales, becks, lakes, caves, forests and beaches of the north: they’re spread across Yorkshire, The Lake District and North Wales.
beginners’ climbs on cliffs such as Shepherd’s Crag. There’s the annual Borrowdale Fell Race too - Chris the manager is an avid fell runner. And Keswick and Derwentwater are only seven miles away if you fancy an easier stroll or lake cruise.”
1. Go fell-walking and climbing in Borrowdale, Lake District “YHA Borrowdale is a delightful, purpose-built wooden building hidden away in the secluded hamlet of Longthwaite. Fell-walking on the surrounding hills can be done straight from the door. There’s plenty of rockclimbing in the Borrowdale valley too, from extreme options to easier
2. Discover the marvels of Malham “YHA Malham is ideally situated for gentle strolls and exciting, dramatic walks. You can wander along beside a gentle beck, passing the delightful Janet’s Foss waterfall, or you can scramble through the vertical-sided gash in the limestone landscape that is Goredale Scar. It’s essentially a giant cave system where the roof has collapsed.
READER OFFER! £100 off Exclusive Hire of YHA Black Sail. Book between 11 Aug - 31 Oct 2015 for arrivals between 1 Nov - 13 Feb 2016 Quote EXPLORE-300 when booking at http://exclusive-hire. yha.org.uk YHA Black Sail
“Nearby, Malham Cove is Yorkshire’s answer to Niagara Falls – without the water. It’s an 80-metre amphitheatre of sheer white limestone. Walk up the stepped track at the side to experience the limestone pavement with its clints and grykes, and the breathtaking view over Malhamdale. You might recognise the scene from a Harry Potter film. If you feel adventurous and don’t suffer from claustrophobia, try a show cave and experience the underground sights of stalagmite and stalactites.” 3. Get wild at England’s most remote hostel “YHA Black Sail is the archetypal remote mountain hut, a hideaway in the
mountains of Cumbria. It can only be reached by walking or mountain-biking and it’s surrounded by the wild fells of Upper Ennerdale and the impressive Pillar Rock. Stay here if you want a wild, ‘off-the-grid’ getaway experience. It is one of my favourite locations.” 4. Scramble along an airy Lake District ridge “YHA Helvellyn is another mountain retreat, situated above Ullswater and the village of Glenridding. It’s ideally situated for fell-walking and climbing Helvellyn, one of my favourite mountains — it’s among the first that I climbed as a teenager. It’s a gnarly scramble along Striding Edge or Swirral 35
Feature: Great Adventres Edge to the summit, and both of these are airy and exposed ridges with big drops. “They’re not to be underestimated. Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team is often called out to rescue people and, sadly, to recover bodies. An easier stroll can be taken as far as Red Tarn, or you can descend to Ullswater to ride the steamer, visit Aira Force waterfall and stroll round the lake. In winter there’s a ski slope and tow on Raise – it’s 45 minutes or an hour’s walk with skis to get there.” 5. Take to two wheels on the Yorkshire Moors “YHA Grinton Lodge is a majestic old shooting lodge on the Moors above Swaledale near Reeth. Kids love the camping pods and it’s a great location for walking, mountain-biking and road-
Swaledale near YHA Grinton Lodge
biking – the Tour de France went up the hill right past the hostel when I was last there. “Try the Dales Bike Centre in Fremington for bike bits, as well as coffee and cake. Nearby, Richmond has an imposing Norman castle and Reeth is very picturesque with lots of lead-mining history.” 6. Be beside the seaside in Yorkshire “YHA Boggle Hole has a fantastic seaside location tucked away in a smugglers’ cove. It’s a great place for children, with sea, sand and fossilhunting on the Yorkshire coast. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is nearby and the town of Whitby – with its clifftop abbey, harbour, fish and chips and Dracula connections – is close by too. For a bigger seaside experience try Scarborough, a short distance south along the coast. And if you want a break from the sea, nip inland and experience the vast expanse of the North York Moors National Park.” 7. Explore the Peak District from Castleton YHA “YHA Castleton Losehill Hall in the Peak District is a grand modernised Victorian Gothic mansion in extensive grounds, another superb location for families. There are plenty of easy valley strolls or pleasant walks on the surrounding hills, such as Mam Tor. They call it ‘The Shivering Mountain’ because of the landslips on its slopes.
Feature: Great Adventres
Camping Striding pod at Edge, YHAHelvellyn Grinton Lodge, Yorkshire Dales Swaledale near YHA Grinton Lodge
“Castleton is also well placed to explore the rest of the Peak District. Try the show caves such as Blue John Cavern, or even a trip to Sheffield if you need a city fix. And as a bonus, the Hope Valley microbrewery is run by the hostel manager.” 8. A city break in God’s Own County “YHA York has a great city location in God’s Own County, with plenty of attractions for children and adults. York Minster: say no more. You’ll also find the York National Railway Museum, the Jorvik Viking Centre, as well as a whole range of dungeons, castles, river trips, shops and great little cafés – try Bettys Café Tea Rooms. And as well as being close to the North York Moors National Park, it’s also well placed for James
Herriot country, as well as the gentle rolling Yorkshire Wolds.” 9. Walk in the footsteps of mountaineering greats in Snowdonia “YHA Pen y Pass in North Wales is a superlative hostel in an extremely dramatic location, with lots of history. When it was a hotel in the late 18th century to early 20th century it was used by mountaineers and rock climbers such as George Mallory, who disappeared on Everest in 1924. It is situated at the top of the Llanberis Pass ready for the serious Crib Goch scramble up Snowdon, or the gentler Pyg or Miners Track (see p18 for details of the Snowdon Horseshoe). It has a great bar with bottle-conditioned local beer and views of the rocky ridges.” 37
How to: Read a map
Skills for outdoor living
... Decipher a map In the first of a series looking at Ordnance Survey grid squares, we focus on the wildly diverse square kilometre around YHA Black Sail, a hostel only accessible by foot in Ennerdale, Lake District. There are two commonly used map scales by Ordnance Survey: 1:25,000 Explorer and 1:50,000 Landranger. In this issue we’ll look at the 1:50,000 Landranger. 1. The pink triangle is the youth hostel symbol. That’ll be YHA Black Sail
6. Scree slope. Steeply rises towards Hay Stacks. Usually too precipitous to climb
2. Long pink dashes represent bridleways, which allow for cyclists and horse riders
7. District boundary 8. Tightly packed contours at tenmetre vertical intervals show steep mountainside
3. The parallel black dashes represent a track (not necessarily a public right of way)
9. Short pink dashes are footpaths, literally only for those on
4. Coniferous forest 5. Footbridge
©Crown copyright 2015 Ordnance Survey. Media 072/15
... Speak a bit of Cornish Staying at one of our 11 hostels in Cornwall and keen to speak the local lingo? Here are a few basic pointers to help you fit in. 38
10. Narrowing river or stream
hello = dydh da please = mar plek thank you = merasta how are you? = fatla genes? this is a proper lovely paella = paella hweg yw hemma
How to: Stargaze
READER OFFER! 20% off
accommodation at YHA Penzance for families and individuals. Book between 11 Aug - 31 Oct 2015 for stay between 1 Sep - 18 Dec 2015 Quote EXPLORE-100 when booking at yha.org.uk
... Spot the planets at night 1. Look along the ecliptic, the name given to the path the sun follows across the sky. Most planets have orbits that differ only slightly from that of the sun, so can be seen at night very close to the path the sun traces during the day. 2. Search for objects that don’t twinkle. With the exception of Mercury, which is affected by its proximity to the sun, the planets don’t twinkle as stars do. Why? Because they’re far closer to us, meaning there’s less atmospheric distance to distort their light. 3. Mercury and Venus are only ever spotted close to the horizon. What’s more, Venus is generally only seen in the two hours after sunset – or, at other times of year, the two hours before sunrise. 4. Identify the colour. The different hues of the planets aren’t always easy to spot, but as well as Mars’ famous reddish glow, Jupiter has a bright, brilliant white light and Saturn has a smaller yellower appearance (with a telescope, you can often see its rings).
... Cook the Pronto Penzance Paella Thinking a Spanish seafood dish sounds too tricky for a hostel kitchen? Think again. This recipe may not be for the paella purists, but it’s cheap and easy. • Ingredients (for four people): an onion, a red pepper, 300g uncooked long grain rice, 100-120g chorizo sausage, 900 ml chicken stock, turmeric, paprika, 200g of frozen peas, 400g frozen supermarket seafood mix, a lemon.
• Heat oil in a pan, add chopped onion to brown, then diced pepper, then chopped chorizo. Fry for a few minutes then add a teaspoon each of turmeric and paprika, along with the rice. Stir well, then add the stock. Boil, then simmer for 15 mins. • Add the peas and cook for 5 more minutes, then tip in the seafood for a final 2-minute stir. Cut the lemon into wedges and give each portion a generous squeeze before serving up. 39
Gear: Day walk
Lowe Alpine Eclipse 25 Rucksack This is an award-winning 25-litre rucksack, and it’s clear why. There are plenty of pockets and features, and we’re impressed by the side-zip entry and the walking pole “tip grippers”. Fantastic for serious day-walkers. lowealpine.com/uk Sprayway Grendel Jacket Summer in the UK isn’t always sun and skittles, so this is a top option for blustery days. Using Gore Windstopper technology and stretch side panels, it keeps the chill out while still being light and easily packable. sprayway.com Water-to-Go Using technology developed for NASA, this 75cl bottle filters out 99.9% of all bacteria and viruses from water sources. We’ve tried it in a country stream, and watched as brown silty water became clear H20. Each filter lasts for 200 litres. watertogo.eu Aeropress For hillwalkers who find it hard to go without decent coffee (hello to you), this is a godsend: a quick, lightweight, no-fuss coffee maker that produces genuinely good results. We can recommend using it with Percol Guatemala. aeropress.co.uk 40
Gear: Day walk
Olympus Stylus Tough TG-4 This is not a large camera, but it’s an excellent one. It’s waterproof down to 15m, freezeproof, crushproof and wifi-compatible, although best for us are the quality and ruggedness it offers for its 225g size. You’ll get manual and auto settings and a 25-100mm zoom – we took the pics shown here with it. olympus.co.uk Brunton TruArc 20 Compass Brunton’s TruArc series are now the official compasses of the Scouts, and this model shows why. Its needle never loses polarity over time, and the compass itself has a sighting mirror, bubble level and triple clinometer system. A hugely reliable companion for off-grid walkers. bruntoneurope.com Bluetooth Splash Speaker. We’ve used this to listen to 6 Music in the shower, a podcast in a tent and the Ashes in the garden. It’s a sturdy, well-priced bit of Bluetooth kit. The sound quality’s strong and the range is up to 10 metres - we can also vouch that it works in the rain. From gizoo.co.uk 41
Drying Room: Celebrity Q&A
Celebrity interview and reader pictures
Ben Fogle It’s now 15 years since Ben Fogle first found fame on the BBC reality show Castaway. He’s since become one of Britain’s highest-profile adventurers, rarely straying far from an ocean, desert or mountain. We caught up with him for an exclusive chat about the places and people that have left him with the most enduring impressions.
Growing up, what do you remember about your first great outdoor experience? I grew up in central London without a garden, but spent my long summer holidays in rural Canada at my late grandfather’s hand-built wooden cottage on a lake. My memories were of bears, canoes, beavers, fishing and camping. 42
Closer to home, what makes the UK an exciting place to explore? The UK has it all. I love the British Isles. We have so much in such a relatively small area. Exmoor is hauntingly beautiful, as are the Yorkshire Dales. And in Scotland, the Outer Hebrides is still one of my favourite places in the world – it’s great for diving too. You’ve raced across Antarctica, the Sahara and the Atlantic Ocean. Which was hardest? I’d have to say the Atlantic - the ocean can be an unforgiving place. I’ve spent a great deal of my life on the ocean and I have learnt to respect it as much as I love it. New Lives In The Wild is on screens at the moment. What was the highlight? I loved filming with Swisswoman
Drying Room: Celebrity Q&A
Barbara in the Australian outback. She was undoubtedly the toughest wildman or wildwoman I have encountered. She lives alone in one of the least hospitable places on Earth. Do the people you encounter in these remote locations have much in common? They have all followed their dream. They have all gone in search of a simpler life, often severing their ties to the grid. They all share a universal happiness. You’ve also been working on a fishing series. What advice would you give to people who have never tried it? Fishing is so simple. You don’t need all the high-tech gear we see advertised. All you need is a rod, a line and some ingenuity. I have been amazed at the simple rig it takes to catch mighty fish.
What’s been your most memorable wildlife experience? Worldwide, I’d say diving with wild Nile Crocodiles in Botswana, but closer to home it would have to be aboard a fishing trawler on the North Sea. (In 2014 Ben spent a full week on a 24-metre trawler, hauling thousands of haddock and cod from the ocean.) Finally, who would be your ideal walking mate for a summer hiking expedition? Someone who brings a combination of good company and practicality. Ideally my wife but she’s not the biggest fan of hiking and camping. Can I take Sir Ranulph Fiennes? • Catch New Lives In The Wild on Channel 5 now. See Channel5.com for details. 43
Drying Room: Readers’ pics
Red Pike Selfie: Here’s one I took up on Red Pike while walking from YHA Buttermere over to YHA Ennerdale. Kevan Brewer.
Singing in YHA Brighton’s karaoke room. Don’t break these records! Kwok Leung.
@laura_yha YHA Bryn Gwynant, what a gem! Perfect hostel for exploring Snowdonia by bike #LiveMoreYHA #YHA #cycletouring
Kids taking in the view from YHA Rowen on an exclusive hire. Mike Butler.
@joshlbs I’m sleeping in a castle tonight. How cool is that? #LiveMoreYHA @JodieCJUK Brilliant stay @YHAOfficial with @clitheroe_bc lots of cycling and great scenery #LIVEMOREYHA
We’ll print the best reader photos every edition. Share them on Twitter #LiveMoreYHA or email us on: email@example.com
@triathlon_x Really pleased we can help Breaks for Kids charity through partnership with @ YHAOfficial
@nicolacranham In proper holiday mode now. Looking forward to long weekend at @ YHAWhitby & @YHAOfficial Boggle Hole with @thomascranham!
Reader tweets: Share your adventure #livemoreYHA
@PilgrimChris .@YHAOfficial Thanks folks :) Am hiking the #PennineWay and booked a couple of YHAs to break up my wild camping along the way. #LiveMoreYHA
Through the hostel window
Drying Room: Celebrity Q&A
Identify the view competition
WIN! A pair of Hanwag Banks GTX worth £160! We have one pair of men’s or women’s Gore-Tex lined ed boots from German manufacturer Hanwag to give away to the winner of our competition. All you have to do is identify which YHA this photo was taken from. One lucky winner will be drawn at random. Answers to: firstname.lastname@example.org by October 15.
Where will your next adventure take you?
YHA Boggle Hole
YHA London Lee Valley
YHA Stratford Upon Avon
Share your adventures on social media: facebook.com/WeAreYHA twitter.com/yhaofficial For all enquiries please contact email@example.com YHA Wasdale Hall
Produced on behalf of YHA by Donâ€™t Look Down Media. dontlookdownmedia.com
#LiveMoreYHA - Issue 01 - August 2015