Hostelling and country walking
You may wonder about the 'Hostellers' in the title of our club. This refers to the non-sailing activity which helps keep the club together over the winter months. The HSC is affiliated to the Youth Hostels Association, the national organisation and registered charity that provides budget accommodation for ramblers and outdoor people in general. (you certainly do not need to be youthful to stay at a Youth Hostel). During the winter months, the HSC organises country walking weekends staying overnight at Youth Hostels, mostly within a couple of hours driving from London. We also arrange occasional day or afternoon rambles. We make Easter weekend a walking weekend rather than a sailing one and usually visit a hostel further afield for this weekend, perhaps in the Lake District or the West Country. We have some members who go sailing but never go rambling and we have some who go rambling but never go sailing.
Wastwater YHA in the Lake District - we stayed here for Easter 2011
Our longest rambles are up to about 15 miles, but many are shorter. Those who do not want to walk so far may form a separate party and take a shorter route. The rambles nearly always stop at a pub or cafe for lunch and often at a tea shop in the afternoon as well.
Those who have found this web site through an interest in sailing may know nothing about the Youth Hostels Association (YHA). I have already made the point that the YHA is not only for youthful people. Anyone who needs overnight accommodation while taking part in some outdoor activity may use Youth Hostels. That outdoor activity could be walking, cycling, canoeing or even just sight seeing by motor car. The overnight cost of Hostels varies but is around £15 to £20 excluding meals. Some of the smaller hostels in out of the way places are a little cheaper and some hostels in large towns and those offering above average facilities are a little extra. All hostels are now maintained to a high standard of cleanliness and nearly all offer facilities to do your own cooking if you want to. If your memories of youth hostels date from the 70's or earlier you may be pleased to know that 'chores' before you are allowed to leave the hostel are now long forgotten. Provided that you leave facilities such as the members kitchen and washrooms clean and tidy the warden will be happy. The main difference between staying in a YHA hostel and staying in a B+B house or hotel is that hostels generally have shared dormitories although a few hostels do now offer some individual rooms. Hostels tend to be a bit friendlier than hotels since everyone staying at a hostel is on holiday and engaged in some outdoor pursuit, so people do tend to talk to each other. Many hostels are buildings of some historical interest, e.g. converted mills, manor houses, even a medieval castle.
Beer YHA in East Devon - we stayed here Easter 2013
I have listed most of the hostels visited by our club over the past few years at this webpage
And at this page I lament the closure of so many hostels in East Anglia.
The Hostellers Sailing Club is one of many clubs affiliated to the YHA. Most of the others are primarily rambling clubs. Here are two links that provide lists of clubs affiliated to the YHA:
(note: although affiliated to the YHA which is a registered charity, the HSC is not itself a registered charity and is financially separate from the YHA)