A REMOTE Lake District youth hostel - more than 80 years old - has re-opened after a £325,000 refurbishment.

YHA Black Sail near Great Gable, has undergone a makeover after donations from YHA members and organisations.

Officials say it has secured the iconic hostel’s long-term future and enabled it to open to visitors all year round.


To mark the occasion, it was declared officially re-open by YHA Ambassador and mountaineer Alan Hinkes OBE.

The mountaineer led a walk from neighbouring hostel, YHA Ennerdale, to the much-loved hostel which is only accessible by foot or bike.

As part of the refurbishment, celebrated landscape artist Tessa Lyons has created a piece of art which will be on permanent display at Black Sail.

The hostel is a former shepherd’s bothy and is one of the oldest Youth Hostels in Britain.

Alan Hinkes OBE said: “I love the remoteness of YHA Black Sail. The fact it’s only accessible with your own efforts by foot or bike, only adds to its appeal for me.

"It is the rural location of many Youth Hostels that holds great appeal for me as they are ideal bases for the walking, climbing and outdoor pursuits that I love.”

Caroline White, Chief Executive of YHA, added: “YHA Black Sail is a great example of the diversity of YHA’s accommodation and the experiences we can offer young people and their families.

"We have something for everyone, whether it’s a private en suite room in a city-based Youth Hostel or a shared room in a small remote hostel like Black Sail - the welcome and great social atmosphere is the same.”

The investment at Black Sail has enabled YHA to weather-proof the building and reduce running costs through the installation of new energy saving measures and the introduction of energy generation on site.

Additionally, storage at the hostel has been increased in order that more supplies can be kept on site during the winter months when the hostel is inaccessible and also to reduce vehicle movements through the Ennerdale Valley.

To help reduce the weekly journeys made to Black Sail through the Ennerdale Valley and enable YHA to run the Youth Hostel efficiently all year round, the Lake District brewer and pub operator Jennings has generously donated a Land Rover to YHA.

The new Land Rover is used by the team to shuttle between YHA Ennerdale and Black Sail. Carrying up to five people, the Land Rover can also transport a huge amount of supplies at any one time food, beer, gas bottles, laundry, cleaning products, rubbish and recycling, all needed to service YHA’s most remote site.

Additionally, the hostel has been redecorated, rewired and has new plumbing systems and fire alarm systems installed.

There is also improved ventilation and drainage works

  • The improvements at YHA Black Sail include
  • Replacement of an existing extension accommodating new battery storage, wood store and cycle storage.
  • New oak-framed, double glazed windows to 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 have thermal insulation added.
  • Installation of sun pipes to allow natural light into some of the darker areas of the building
  • Renewable energy generated on site with roof mounted photovoltaic panels. Hot water generated with solar panels and a new wood burning stove providing heat and hot water.
  • Electricity use will reduce with the installation of LED lighting
  • Water conservation with the introduction of aerated taps, dual flush toilets and percussion valves on showers