News has emerged that two SYHA youth hostels – Inveraray and Tobermory – have been put on the property market and are expected to close at the end of this season. The hostels are being sold through Savills estate agents (sale details are available here and here respectively).
What is unusual about these sales is that SYHA appears to have made no announcement themselves of the decision to close these hostels – not on their News page, not in their latest e-newsletter nor in their members’ magazine. The first time most people will have heard of it (if at all) is when the virtual “for sale” signs went up. I can only hope that they remembered to tell the hostel staff first.
This leads to the natural concern that there might be other Scottish hostels that have been quietly put on the market. In particular, Broadmeadows, which was scheduled for closure last year, only to win an uncertain reprieve a few months later. Seeking for further information, I wrote to SYHA and received this response from Marketing Manager Wendy Grindle:
The Board of SYHA Hostelling Scotland continues to review our current network and like our sister organisations in the rest of Britain and Ireland, who have a number of Youth Hostels ear-marked for closure, SYHA has had to make the difficult decision to place properties on the market. As part of the review we have listened to our customers’ comments, in our some 8000 annual feedback reviews and member surveys, in terms of what they are looking for in locations and facilities and we are working hard to exceed these expectations to ensure the future sustainability of the network. Both Tobermory and Inveraray hostels although on the market, remain fully operational this season and we are hopeful that the properties may be purchased as going concerns and remain within the SYHA network as Affiliate Hostels, as was achieved successfully last year at Kirk Yetholm. Broadmeadows remains open through 2013, however, as part of the ongoing review process we will be considering the future of all Youth Hostels. Maintaining a sustainable, fit for purpose Hostelling network in Scotland is SYHA’s highest priority and any changes to its structure will be communicated directly to SYHA members at the appropriate time.
We continue to invest in the network with Glenbrittle Youth Hostel on Skye being our latest significant refurbishment, which was re-opened two weeks ago to a busy start to the season. This follows on from other more recent substantial refurbishments at Lochranza, Oban and Torridon. We also hope to start on modernisation works at Glen Nevis in the near future. Additionally, SYHA Hostelling Scotland is endeavouring, resources permitting, to establish new Youth Hostels in Kirkwall in Orkney, Portree on Skye, Thurso in Caithness, Glentress in the Borders, Derry Lodge in the eastern Cairngorms and in Aberdeen.
Thank you for your continued interest and support for SYHA Hostelling Scotland.
She didn’t comment on the apparent lack of an announcement, so I’ve written back to query the point. I’ll let you know what response I receive.
Always a believer in cock-up over conspiracy, I’m sure the way this sale has been handled represents an accidental oversight rather than a policy of keeping members in the dark about such important news. Anybody attended the SYHA AGM in July (you still have about a month to register) might want to ask that question in person.
My thanks to regular commenter “hostelman” for bringing this story to my attention.