Fifty years of the Reinigedal Crofter’s Hostel

The photo shows Mac (right) and John, outside the Hostel in Reinigeadal.
The photo shows Mac (right) and John, outside the Hostel in Reinigeadal.

For fifty years Rhenigidale youth hostel has been serving the community in North Harris.

In that time it has welcomed some 30,000 visitors to the area. The first visitor was Mac Hoskin who helped Herbert Gatliff find the hostel.

Here he is pictured enjoying the sunshine on 12 May, 50 years to the day after the hostel was opened.

Malcolm ‘Mac’ Hoskin has many fond memories of the Gatliff Hostel at Reinigeadal - he was the very first guests when it opened on May 12th 1962.

He last visited for the 40th anniversary in 2002, and he cycled into the village last Saturday having travelled all the way from Shrewsbury in order to stay at the Hostel for the 50th. What he loves about the Hebridean Hostels is their free and easy approach. He said: “The main reason I don’t Hostel any more is basically due to having to book. You used to be able to just turn up at most Hostels and get a bed, now there are all these rules. Not having to book, indeed not being able to book, is the great attraction of the Gatliff Hostels.”

His fellow hosteller, John Butterworth, on his first visit to Reinigeadal agrees. “What I like best about these simple Hostels is their locations - stunning.”

The Hostel at Reinigeadal is open 365 days a year, and sleeps up to 11. There is also room for camping. While it cannot be booked in advance, you are unlikely to be turned away, and a bed once bagged is yours for successive nights. The Gatliff Hebridean Hostels Trust operates two other Hostels, at Howmore and Berneray.

Peter Clarke, Chair of the Gatliff Hebridean Hostels Trust & author of The Outer Hebrides - The Timeless Way said:“Whilst looking back on 50 years of service the Gatliff Hebridean Hostels Trust is also looking to the future at Rhenigidale, Kate Langley, of Rhenigidale, started as the new warden on 1 May. We are here to stay serving the community for at least the next 50 years.”