We’ve had a great week at the Ravenspoint hostel, so thank you to everyone who came along. The sheer variety of visitors never ceases to amaze us, and of course one of the joys of hostelling is that you get to meet a great mix of people!
So whether you’re on a short trip from the mainland (or making your way from Penzance!), cycling from Barra to the butt, taking a break from your studies or attempting to walk up more than 2,700 hills across the UK (yes, that many – Good luck, Alan!), there’s a welcome at the hostel for you.
And don’t think that hostelling means being crammed into a dorm – we have a variety of rooms all as clean and comfortable as any hotel room. And what’s great about hostelling is that you get to choose the type of stay you want – eat in our great café or go self-catering – you can even be the first to come and try our new ovens and hobs (being fitted this week)!
Come and see us soon!
If you missed out on our Taste of Thailand evening a few weeks ago (see pic to whet your appetite), don’t worry. Guest Chef Kenny Dan Campbell is back this Friday evening with a Thai takeaway menu at Ravenspoint from 4 – 7pm.
We’re busy at Ravenspoint gearing up to re-open our lovely café for the new season, and we’re looking forward to welcoming a new chef to tempt our tastebuds and delight our eyes with his presentation. Watch this space for more.
One of the great things about the Ravenspoint cafe is that it offers a feast for the eyes, whatever you’ve got on the plate in front of you. Time flies as you take in the view across Loch Erisort with its ever-changing colours and currents. Then there’s the wildlife to consider. This week we’ve been entertained by a playful otter playing hide and seek – he’s hiding and we’re seeking! Ravens, eagles, buzzards and let’s not forget the fish, those mackerel can really stir things up – it’s all there, just outside the café window.
Ravenspoint was a school up until 1973
‘O wad some power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us’ – and who would dare disagree with the words of the Bard himself? Certainly not a group of volunteers who, responding to the frank but constructive feedback from users of the Ravenspoint Hostel in South Lochs, have set to work to make this community-owned Hostel a brighter, better place to stay.
Like many old buildings this traditional schoolhouse presents a challenge to anyone who wants to improve it – had the spirit level even been invented when it was it originally built? It’s a balancing act between charming quirkiness and the need for a warm, clean and welcoming place to stay.
The volunteers initially concentrated on repairing the fabric of the building and re-decoration. Next come new cooking facilities, mattresses, flooring replacement, secure bike storage, satellite TV, fresh new bedding…..
We’ll be re-opening at the end of March, and by then the café will also be open, so you can take in the stunning scenery whilst also taking in the selection of tasty lunches and fabulous baking.
Keep up with the re-fit on Facebook – just search for ‘Ravenspoint Centre’. Don’t forget to ‘like’ us, and you could win a coffee, lunch or a lovely slab of freshly-made cake!
Well not quite, as it’s only number 6 for Ravenspoint. But our good friends at Scottish Islands Explorer have been at it a lot longer than us, and today marks their 1000th consecutive daily blog! Take a look. It’s at http://john-humphries.blogspot.com. We’re delighted that Ravenspoint gets a mention (the magazine’s back-office is based here), and hope that our own blog goes on to match this achievement sometime in 2031!
Tha bliadhna eile a’ sìneadh a-mach romhainn. Cothrom, is dòcha, sgilean ùr ionnsachadh air neo feadhainn a th’againn mar tha a leasachadh. Tha e dearbhte gu bheil buannachd a’ tighinn bho bhi ag ionnsachadh cànan eile agus chan ann dìreach don fheadhainn a tha ga h-ionnsachadh. Bha e na thlachd mòr dhomh fhèin, gun ghuth air a chrathadh a thug e air m’ eanchainn, ùine a chosg còmhla ris na daoine dealasach a thadhal oirnn an uiridh agus miann aca tuilleadh eòlas a chuir air ar cànan is ar cultair. Thànaig iad as gach ceàrnaidh; cuid as an Eilean seo fhèin agus cuid eile a shiubhal astar mòr, agus dh’ ionnsaich sinn bho chèile. An dùil an tig thu fhèin a cheilidh am bliadhna? Ge bith am bheil thu air ùr – thòiseachadh leis a Ghàidhlig air neo fada air thoiseach ormsa, bhiodh e math d’ fhaicinn! Tha tuilleadh mu na cùrsaichean againn ann a sheo.
So what mind-stretching activities have you got planned for this year? The benefits of learning a new language are well-documented and not just for those doing the learning! Meeting the lively and dedicated people who joined us last year, both from the island itself and further afield, to learn more about the Gaelic language was a real pleasure, to say nothing of the workout their questions gave my brain! Why not have a go this year? All the information about the 2014 courses can be found here.
So what are you doing on Friday 24th January? We’re planning a wee birthday celebration at Ravenspoint for a certain Mr Robert Burns. Now if you think Burns isn’t for you, think again. Last year we found out about the link between the Bard and fuel forecourt flowers(!) and were hugely entertained by Jim, pictured below, who had no trouble subduing the Haggis!
I was asked the other day if I’d made any resolutions for 2014 , and after due consideration (a few seconds) I replied ‘No’. It’s not that I don’t think they’re a good idea, I just know that my talents lie elsewhere – telling, sorry, I meant ‘advising’ other people as to what they should do! So here are just a few reasons to take the road to South Lochs this year. It will be worth it.
1. Discover beautiful scenery, wildlife, history and a thriving community
2. Walk the hills and visit the magical, deserted village of Stemreway
3. Cycle the Ring of Park and stretch those mental and physical muscles
4. Relax as you eat in the Ravenspoint Café enjoying the stunning view of beautiful Loch Erisort
5. Stay in our newly re-fitted Ravenspoint Hostel and take the time to do all of the above!
If you really want to escape at Christmas, you can do no better than South Lochs. Officially designated as one of the few remaining areas of wilderness in the UK, it’s where our own madcap volunteer/ dogsbody, RavenspointJohn, spent Christmas day. The view is of Beinn Mhor, the highest spot in South Lochs, and the second highest on Lewis. If you think 572 metres is an easy stroll, come and try it. It’s a long walk in, and a challenge in a severe gale! The good news is that the warm and welcoming Ravenspoint Hostel is only a few miles down the road. Of course, you don’t have to wait until next Christmas. We’re open all year round, and the chances are you’ll have the hills to yourself whenever you come!
Come and learn Gaelic with us in 2014 as we run more of our popular Gaelic courses, offering a mix of formal language learning and the opportunity to see, hear and use the language in our community of South Lochs. The four courses offer a variety of accommodation options including, in the summer, the chance to stay in the homes of Gaelic speakers. Whatever stage you’re at with Gaelic we look forward to welcoming you. Gheibh sibh fàilte chridheil!