LOOKING to spend an activity-packed weekend somewhere in Scotland? Look no further than these great budget options. By Jane Mackie
Aviemore Youth Hostel is situated in the heart of the Cairngorm National Park, a short walk from Aviemore town centre and an ideal location for outdoor activities. The path in to the Craigellachie National Nature Reserve goes right past the door. Situated just nine miles from the Cairngorm mountain funicular and snowsports area, Aviemore Youth Hostel provides an ideal base for snowsports, hillwalking and climbing.
Open all year round. https://www.syha.org.uk/where-to-stay/highlands/aviemore.aspx
2. Cairngorm Lodge Youth Hostel
Cairngorm Lodge Youth Hostel is an old Scottish shooting lodge offering stunning views of the Northern Corries. It is just two miles from the Cairngorm mountain funicular and snowsports area, popular with outdoor enthusiasts, families and groups looking for budget accommodation. For something different visit the Reindeer Centre, where you can learn about and feed these friendly free-roaming animals. Dogs are welcome at Cairngorm Lodge Youth Hostel when guests book a private room. Check the website for opening times over winter months. https://www.syha.org.uk/where-to-stay/highlands/cairngorm-lodge.aspx
3. Braemar Youth Hostel
Braemar Youth Hostel is an ideal base for exploring Royal Deeside, the mighty Cairngorms and for skiing and boarding at Glenshee and The Lecht. Braemar now has a webcam in the village. It points at the snow gates next to the youth hostel on the A93 road going towards Glenshee. Any guests can use this to see if you can get to the ski resort or just get here from the south - http://braemarscotland.co.uk/snowgate-webcam/. Dogs are now welcome at Braemar when guests book a private room.
Check website for opening times over winter months. https://www.syha.org.uk/where-to-stay/highlands/braemar.aspx
LOCH LOMOND & THE TROSSACHS
4. Crianlarich Youth Hostel
Crianlarich Youth Hostel is a modern bungalow style building nestled below a forest in the Strathfillan Glen providing a great base for exploring the northern end of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Twenty Munros dominate the landscape with particular favourites being Ben More (1174m) and Ben Lui (1130m). The village of Crianlarich is also the halfway point on the West Highland Way.
Check website for opening times over winter months. https://www.syha.org.uk/where-to-stay/highlands/crianlarich.aspx
5. Glencoe Youth Hostel
Glencoe Youth Hostel is perfect if you are attempting a historic walk up the Lost Valley or tackling Britain’s finest ridge walk, the Aonach Eagach (which ends at the youth hostel). It provides a cosy base for snowsports enthusiasts at the Glencoe Mountain ski area and is only a 10 minute walk or stumble from the infamous Clachaig Inn. Dogs are welcome at Glencoe when guests book a private room. Open all year round. https://www.syha.org.uk/where-to-stay/highlands/glencoe.aspx
6. Glen Nevis Youth Hostel
Glen Nevis Youth Hostel is located in Fort William at the heart of the Outdoor Capital of the UK. Hosting hill walkers, climbers and backpackers at the foot of Britain’s Highest Mountain since 1933, it has a proven track record of providing quality budget accommodation for individuals, families and groups from around the world wishing to visit the Lochaber area. The Nevis Range Mountain Centre offers skiing nearby. Open all year round. https://www.syha.org.uk/where-to-stay/highlands/glen-nevis.aspx
7. Loch Ossian Youth Hostel
Loch Ossian Youth Hostel is a small, homely eco youth hostel, situated on the banks of Loch Ossian, in the remote Scottish Highlands. It is an excellent base for hillwalkers, as it is surrounded by Munros. Loch Ossian is only accessible by rail, bike, or foot, with Corrour railway station (West Highlands Glasgow to Fort William line) a short (approximately 20 minute walk) away. In the winter, it is truly a magical experience to escape to this remote location to enjoy fantastic walks and undisturbed wildlife. Open all year round. https://www.syha.org.uk/where-to-stay/highlands/loch-ossian.aspx
NORTH WEST HIGHLANDS
8. Torridon Youth Hostel
The Torridon area is a magnificent corner of the North Western Highlands. Walkers are spoilt for choice here with numerous hills, coastal trails, historic passes and hidden glens to explore. For the best advice ask the youth hostel staff who will be happy to share their local knowledge with you. Dogs are welcome at Torridon Youth Hostel when guests book a private room.
For those interested in activity holidays, SYHA’s Winter Walking Skills courses are based at Torridon Youth Hostel. The two-day courses, one in late January and the other in February, are run by a qualified mountain leader. Check website for opening times over winter months. https://www.syha.org.uk/where-to-stay/highlands/torridon.aspx
9. Oban Youth Hostel
Just because it is winter, don’t be put off visiting Oban. You can enjoy crisp walks along the coast or hike up to McCaig’s Tower, a folly and prominent local landmark on top of Battery Hill, affording great views over the town and harbor. North of Oban is Connell, Benderloch and Port Appin for good walking with dramatic mountain views and seascapes. For the adventurous, winter is the best time to scuba dive at nearby Loch Etive. Open all year round. https://www.syha.org.uk/where-to-stay/highlands/oban.aspx
ISLE OF SKYE
10. Portree Youth Hostel, The Isle of Skye
Opened in March 2015 this youth hostel is located in the heart of Portree, the capital of Skye, and one of the most famous destinations in Scotland. The bus station, town square, galleries, shops and restaurants are only a couple of minutes’ away. Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts wishing to tackle the famous Cuillin or Skye Munros or for exploring the history and culture of the beautiful Isle of Skye.
Open all year round. https://www.syha.org.uk/where-to-stay/islands/portree.aspx
• Jane Mackie is marketing manager for SYHA Hostelling Scotland