Monday, 3 November 2014

Half term holiday romance...

Firstly, many thanks for all the helpful comments on my last blog post about jam-making. I have only just caught up with blog business as I've been busy rekindling some old loves over the half term holiday...

Me and the Youth Hostel Association go back a long way - about 33 years in fact. I've blogged about my Youth Hostel love before, when we camped at a couple of Welsh Youth Hostels in summer 2013. When my sister bowed out of the long drive southwards to our house from Sunderland this half term and suggested we meet half way instead, for an aunties' and cousins' two night mini break, where better to stay than a Youth Hostel? Especially when you can book a 6 bed family room for all of us for £50 a night. That's cheaper per head than some campsites these days.

If it wasn't for the green YHA sign,
it could pass for a country hotel...

Hathersage Youth Hostel, in the Peak District, served all our needs. Comfy bunk beds, a large self catering kitchen, dining room and lounge. And lots of other friendly guests amenable to sharing tea/a bottle of wine/playing board games/cake (delete according to your age and the time of day). 

Our room did have a faint whiff of school changing rooms but we couldn't decide whether the smell was already embedded or if the trainers belonging to the runner in our party were to blame.

Stepping stones across the River Derwent

From Hathersage we were able to explore the local area without needing any transport other than our legs. We walked a couple of miles up the River Derwent for a flat walk when the weather was misty, and on the clearer day we walked up to Stanage Edge, the largest gritstone edge overlooking Hathersage. We made sure that one of our walks included a detour to see the grave of Little John (Robin Hood's fellow outlaw). Even legendary figures have graves you know.

Stanage Edge
Being able to do most of our exploring on foot was important, as the Wiltshire contingent had indulged another of our loves - trains. By booking in advance through thetrainline.com with our Family and Friends railcard, it was just about affordable (twice the price of our room - eek) and made for a much more pleasant (and environmentally friendly) journey than the five hour drive would have been. The railway line across the Pennines between Sheffield and Manchester even stops at Hathersage itself, so we could walk to the Youth Hostel from the station.

My new love this half term is most definitely for Hathersage itself. A no nonsense village (unlike some of its touristy neighbours such as Castleton), in beautiful surroundings. I'd definitely visit again - for one thing I'd like a dip in the heated outdoor swimming pool (that is still open at this time of year, but only at weekends so we didn't get to try it out), and for another, the waffle menu at the Hathersage Social Club needs further investigation... 

(All my own opinions here - no sponsored links.)

Do you have any favourite Youth Hostels or places in the Peak District? Any suggestions for other good places to visit that are half way between Wiltshire and the North East?

3 comments:

  1. Sounds like it would have been right up my alley--easy walking, comfortable accommodations, and nice scenery, not to mention good prices.

    Tell me about Little John's grave. Real or folk lore?

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  2. Helloooooooooooooooo I am visiting for the first time thanks to Angela. We live just outside Whitby on the North York Moors. My first teaching job was in Nottingham and I would regularly bring pupils up North to witness the benefits of the coast line as living in a city centre they had limited experience. We stayed at Saltburn Youth Hostel but prior to driving back to Nottingham we would drop off at my parents who would prepare Sunday dinner for up to 13 pupils. Happy Days. Sadly dad passed away but I returned home to look after mum and meet my now husband of 26 years.
    Mum died in 1994 but she saw us move to our current house and would love to stay.
    Happy days indeed.

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  3. I've never stayed in a hostel, I really should give it a bash. We have paid an absolute fortune for some right old shamble of a place in the past.

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