Interested in running Acheninver Youth Hostel?

Hostel front view

Acheninver (or Achininver) Youth Hostel has been an iconic part of the local landscape for a long time. A former croft house, it became a youth hostel in the 1930’s when hiking and hosteling was the new big thing. Since then people of all ages (some more youthful than others) have stayed here: walked The Rock (the Postman’s Path from Ullapool); climbed the local hills, enjoyed the scenery and made friends. Many have returned and remember the hostel fondly as their introduction to the area – and some have never left!

Happy Hostellers in 1946
Happy Hostellers in 1946

Summer 2015 looks like it will be the hostel’s last in its current form as the Scottish Youth Hostel Association (SYHA) are giving up their lease on the building; it is currently owned by Scottish Wildlife Trust as part of the Ben Mor Estate. At present, the future looks uncertain but we feel there is an opportunity to create a new future for the hostel. The accommodation is basic but the location is stunning and there is currently a shortage of short-stay, budget accommodation in the area.

Nothing is set in stone, and we are discussing various options but would welcome comment or notes of interest from anyone who might be interested in taking over the lease and running the hostel as their own business. It would suit someone one with energy and enthusiasm, and an interest in outdoor activities who would like to develop a business but perhaps does not have the capital to buy a property and start from scratch. It’s not going to make anyone a millionaire but there is the opportunity to increase business through extending the season (the hostel is only open in the summer months) and encouraging group activity bookings, or reducing the dormitory accommodation and offering a slightly more luxurious stay in private rooms. It may also be possible to benefit from SYHA’s advice and ongoing support as an affiliate. All is subject to negotiation and agreement with SYHA, SWT and CCDC.

Accommodation:

Common room with kitchen area, upstairs Dormitory (8 beds), downstairs dormitory (8 beds?), family room (4 beds), warden’s accommodation, showers/toilets, sheds.

Access is by foot along the burn from the car park at Achavraie – there is a rough path but only passable by appropriate vehicle (quad, 4×4). The path continues down the Acheninver burn to the sea where there is a sandy beach.

If you would like to know more and are considering an exciting challenge in one of the most beautiful parts of the world (we have stunning scenery AND a friendly community!) please get in touch. You might even like to come and stay this summer and see for yourself.  Or if you stayed in the past and have happy memories, or would like to make some suggestions for improvement please let us know.

Coigach is part of a National Scenic Area and the North West Highlands Geopark. The hostel overlooks Loch Broom and the Summer Isles and is a 25 mile drive from Ullapool (where the ferry departs for Stornoway and the Western Isles). There is a very rough path from Ullapool round the base of Ben Mor Coigach –  suitable only for experienced and very hardy walkers. Or you could come by small boat or canoe as there is a sandy beach nearby.

Contact: Julia Campbell, Local Development Officer, CCDC

email:      info@coigachcommunity.org.uk

phone:     01854 622 379 (home)

write:      Coigach Community Hall, Achiltibuie, Ullapool IV26 2YL

tweet:    @coigachcdc

facebook:   Coigach Community Development Company

visit: fly/train to Inverness, bus to Ullapool, bus to Achiltibuie – or drive approximately 25 miles north of Ullapool.

From the Album….

Hostel Acheninver Burn

Film companies beat track to Coigach!

If proof were needed that Coigach has world-beating scenery no matter what the time of year,  you need look no further than the very recently released international blockbuster film ‘The Eagle’ – part of which was filmed here. Director: the world-famous Kevin MacDonald (‘The Last King of Scotland’, ‘Into the Void’) and starring Donald Sutherland, Jamie Bell (‘Billy Elliot’), Channing Tatum (‘G I Joe’, ‘Step Up’) and Mark Strong.

Above: star Jamie Bell above Fox Point at the village set with Tanera Mor in the background.

Film-dom hit Coigach in late 2009 with the roar of massive, tracked, film-company mega-vehicles – as a skilled crew of set designers, film craftspeople, and mallet-wielding muscle  re-modelled part of Fox Point into a ‘Seal People’ neolithic-style village … with ‘ancient’ roundhouses of glass fibre so realistically painted as to fool even the closest observer.

Almost every holiday house on the peninsula was booked for camera people, technicians, horse-handlers, the director and his team, and the Summer Isles Hotel for the top ‘talent’,  Jamie and Channing ….or Chan as he insisted we called him as he set up the drinks at the bar!

Now the feature film has hit the Box Office in the States and Britain ….with a special showing locally in March for Achiltibuie to thank everyone involved.  Locals were in the thick of it –  everything from providing accommodation, food, nursing services, extras, helping to look after and stable the horses, to organising a Grand Ceilidh in our Community Hall, (where the film office was based) for the stars and crew at the end of the Coigach section of filming.

Hope you all spotted that they were galloping over Achnahaird beach and the shots of the Summer Isles and the area around Loch Badagyle even in that short trail-feature.

Shortly after shooting ended for ‘The Eagle’ another film company was in Coigach making a ‘Tartan Short’ style film involving a bus load of American Tourists in a ‘back to the future’ encounter with the Picts!

All in all an Autumn season’s work for the sensational scenery, quality accommodation and resourceful community of Coigach.

Bring it on, Hollywood!