Our Mission is to provide simple hostels to encourage all but especially young people of limited means to visit the Outer Hebrides. We want all to come to know and love the islands and islanders, the islands’ unique flora and fauna and crofting communities. In other words we are not accommodation providers.
Our hostels are small, ranging from 12 to 21 beds, and provide simple basic cooking and common room facilities in communal settlings. Our hostels are designed to meet the needs of independent travellers arriving on foot or travelling by cycle, kayak or horseback.
A small group of 4 is fine but will take a group of 5 at a squeeze. A party of 5 will take 42% of the beds at Rhenigidale, 32% at Howmore and 25% at Rhenigidale. We ask such parties to respect the rights of others to use the kitchen, common room, shower and washroom facilities.
Our hostels are certainly not designed for larger groups nor are they designed for groups organised on a commercial basis. Sorry. This is because we find that commercially run groups have very different expectations of our small hostels to those for whom the hostel is designed, individual travellers. For the avoidance of doubt we define a commercially run group where participants are paying the organiser to provide and guide them through the islands, provide accommodation, and maybe meals, and carry their luggage from place to place in support vehicles.
We respectfully ask the organisers of these groups to visit other web sites to find accommodation better suited to their needs. The following may be of help:
or the Outer Hebrides Tourist Association
We respectfully ask participants in organised groups to consider visiting again and enjoy the hostel as we intend it to be used.
All our accommodation is in dormitory rooms. We provide no private or en suite facilities.
We take no bookings.
Please note that no representative of the Trust is permitted to “take a booking.” This includes Directors and Wardens. It is not possible to make a booking via Hostelling Scotland, or via any booking web site whatever that site might say. Remember we do not have control over the content of other sites. We always follow through references to sites which proport to take bookings or which provide false or misleading information about our hostels.
We also condemn those camp site and camper van web sites which claim wild campers and camper-vanners can use our facilities for free. This information is not correct and we ask genuine hostellers to ignore it. All who use our hostels must pay the fee as set out on the hostel notice board. (There is a link to these notices lower down.)
Because we take no bookings we cannot predict usage on specific dates even on the day before.
What to do when you arrive at one of our hostels.
If you have arrived on foot, bicycle or kayak you will not be turned away. When you arrive at the hostel please claim a bed. It is yours for the duration of your stay. Make it up with your sleeping bag or one you have hired from the hostel. Note your bed number against your name in the Hostel Register. Please note that our wardens do not live on site. They call once or twice a day to check all is well and collect fees.
We make fair but low charges [Berneray details – Howmore & Rhemigidale details] for the use of our facilities. We are a small organisation run by volunteers with no paid staff. This keeps our overnight fee low but we still have to pay all our bills e.g. Electricity and Water. All surpluses are used to provide more and better hostels.
We provide no facilities for camper vans or their occupants. We respectfully ask camper vanners to use the facilities specifically designed for their needs which are dotted throughout the islands. Camper vanners have an easy weather proof means of driving to another location; hostellers on bikes or on foot do not.
We ask camper vanners and wild campers to note the terms of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code especially in respect of the rights of crofters. The code provides rights only to those on foot
There is limited parking for cars and motorcycles at or near all our hostels
Hostellers may camp in small tents in the hostel grounds at Howmore and Rhenigidale. Fees for camping are per person not per tent. Sadly camping is not possible within the site of our Berneray hostel. Please note that all our hostels are surrounded by croft land. We cannot give you permission to camp on this land.
Please note our hostels are not a duty-free. Please leave the hostels after your visit as you would like to find them.
Gatliff Hebridean Hostels Trust, 30 Francis Street, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis HS1 2NDghht@gatliff.org.uk Registered Scottish Charity SC 013360. A company limited by guarantee number 111557 (Scotland) Copyright Gatliff Hebridean Hostels Trust