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Saturday, 2 June 2012

The 2012 Challenge, Day 6: Through the Lairig Leacach (6)

I arrived at Loch Ossian Youth Hostel and knocked on the door to the warden's office. Were members' facilities such as the kitchen still available? No. Because it was a school party, she couldn't allow anyone else into the main building. Which is probably down to "child protection" policies - but it does beg a very important question about SYHA policy. The SYHA exists for its members' benefit, and to provide facilities for its members' use. I am a member (a life member, in fact) - not merely a TGO Challenge voucher holder, and I have paid for those facilities to be available for my use. If "child protection" (or whatever else it may be) means that hostels such as Loch Ossian cannot be let to school parties without thereby denying members the use of facilities they have paid for, then surely the correct solution should be to refuse to take school bookings for this hostel, should it not? I mean, by all means allow school parties to book hostels where they can be accommodated without denying members the use of members' facilities (such as Cairngorm Lodge). But at those hostels where co-existence is not possible, surely it is the members who should come first?

Well anyway, I wondered if the hotel at Rannoch Station had any rooms tonight. If so, and if I could find out how to flag down the sleeper to get it to stop at Corrour, I figured I could book a hotel room, go and cook myself a meal in the waiting room at Corrour station, catch the train to Rannoch, and then catch a train back in the morning to continue walking. Alas, however, the hotel at Rannoch was fully booked, so that was a non-starter. The warden helpfully pointed out that there were some other tents already set up by the lochside on a spit of land which she called "the peninsula", and I decided that my best bet was to go and join them. They were all fishermen, and they had taken the best large tent pitches; but I had no difficulty finding a nice dry pitch for a tent my size. The rain let up a little while I pitched my tent, but started up again almost immediately after. I didn't feel like the hassle of cooking and washing up, so I just settled down to a supper consisting of a few handfuls of trail mix and some Kendal mint cake, washed down with what remained of my water supply. Then I settled down to sleep.

1 comment:

  1. What ever gave you the idea that the SYHA existed for the benefit of it's members. It was full of school kids in 83 and we were almost evicted from our tent by the warden because we had pitched within sight of the hostel.