2nd April 2008
The Cairngorms National Park can boast 19 independent hostels in the area giving travellers a wide choice of affordable places to stay. Now those wanting to use the warm and welcoming facilities of the Park’s hostels need only look in one place for all the information they need with the launch of the new Cairngorms Hostels website: www.cairngormshostels.co.uk
With funding support from the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) through its Community Investment Programme totalling £4,500, the group – which has operated on an informal basis since the early 1990’s – has been reconstituted and is now the only area group operating in Scotland, promoting their hostel accommodation on a collective basis.
Furthermore, due to the group’s green credentials, Cairngorms Hostels has been able to adopt the Cairngorms National Park brand as its visual identity. Becoming one of the “family brands” in the Cairngorms National Park sees the Cairngorms Hostels group joining an increasing number of organisations across different sectors which are seeing the benefits of a having a coherent identity. These include the Cairngorms Farmers Market and the various Cairngorms Destination Management Organisations that have been set up already or in the process of being established.
The Cairngorms Hostel’s first ever chairman is Ian Bishop of Slochd Mhor Lodge. He said: “The idea of an expanded and formally constituted body for independent hostels within the Cairngorms National Park was first discussed in May 2007. Since then it has been particularly hard work for all involved liaising closely with the Park Authority and our members to reach the position of being ready to present our organisation’s new web site to the world.
“The aim of the web site must be to convince people to holiday in the Cairngorms National Park and of course to stay in our hostels. Over many years independent hostels have been changing and most now have twin rooms, family en-suite rooms, rooms for special needs and many actually run a variety courses, attracting visitors from all walks of life. Reassuringly, some hostels remain pointedly very simple whilst guaranteeing equally high standards of hospitality, giving visitors a real choice.
“We hostel owners are a passionate lot and real enthusiasts and are beginning to see the benefits that can be gained from having a new structured business approach allowing us to make the best use of the resources open to us and our visitors. I am also delighted to say that all our members are providing recognised Visit Scotland Quality Assured accommodation and service. Many have also been accredited with their Green Tourism Business Awards as well as receiving accolades from world wide publications and reviewers.”
Kate Muirhead, owner of the Rucksacks hostel in Braemar added: “The Cairngorms National Park can be perceived as being Aviemore based, so at this side of the Park we do feel on ‘the edge’ and not in the thick of things. It is extremely important therefore for us to be included within Cairngorms Hostels and then at the very least I know I have a platform where I can air my views and concerns with like minded folk who share the same environment.”
CNPA Convener David Green commented: “Hostels in the Cairngorms National Park certainly make an invaluable contribution to the Park’s well deserved reputation for hospitality and good value. I warmly welcome the establishment of Cairngorms Hostels and firmly believe that by working together to market their accommodation will prove fruitful for the group.
“We want to see the Cairngorms National Park as a “Park for All” and ensuring a good range of quality, affordable accommodation is a key element of this and having all the information on hostels in the area at your fingertips certainly makes things a lot easier for people coming to visit.”