Sunday, 14 June 2015

Saddle Mountain Hostel; new owners and a new name!




Saddle Mountain Hostel, previously Invergarry Lodge, is now owned and run by Greg Barclay and Helen Cunningham.Helen was born in London and if asked will tell the story of how her love of the outdoors was triggered by a placemat of Glencoe. She began her journey north in the 1980s, studying map-making in Newcastle, and finally reached Scotland in 1993.Greg comes from Aberdeen; he has lived and worked in Scotland all his life, and has always preferred holidays to work! Greg used to be a solicitor; now he is a part-time barista.
They married in 1996 and immediately started planning an escape from their jobs. They went on a round the world trip and on their return they settled in Inverness and have lived in the Highlands ever since.

They have put a very personal stamp on their new venture.  The name “Saddle Mountain” combines their love of walking and cycling up mountains. The “Saddle” refers to a bike saddle and geographical feature marking the lowest point between mountains. The inspiration for the red and white colours on the logo and throughout the hostel came from the red and white signs marking trekking routes across Europe.
Nature lovers Greg and Helen have created a Planning Corner in the Hostel.  Full of guidebooks and maps and with a sofa, its purpose is to inform and inspire guests about the local area

Before re-opening, the Hostel lounge was refurbished with a new carpet, sofas and armchairs with a large TV and music centre for guests’ use. The dining room was re-floored and is now home to the Hostel's new Espresso Hub.  Guests will be able to kick start their day with a genuine Italian coffee, for a small additional charge.

The Hostel has now been open for three weeks and Helen and Greg are delighted at the huge variety of people staying.  In the first week they had groups from George Watson’s College in Edinburgh and Stocket Hillwalking Club in Aberdeen. There were Spanish touring cyclists, the Iron Drivers on their Harleys from Switzerland, Rene from Austria walking the Scottish National Trail, Janet Crossley walking from John O’Groats to Land’s End, touring families, and a whole host of hill walkers.  What they find most appealing is that everyone has story to tell, and they could (and sometimes do) talk to guests for hours.
They find it so interesting to hear where people have been and where they are going and try to help out when asked with their own knowledge.

The Hostel is found in Invergarry in the Great Glen, a short drive from Loch Ness, between Fort William and Inverness.  Its location nestled amongst mountains, glens, lochs and forests make it a great starting place to explore the Scottish Highlands.

Saddle Mountain Hostel sleeps up to 26 people in 5 bedrooms and its spacious and comfortable facilities include a large self-catering kitchen, separate dining room and a relaxing visitors' lounge.  There's also free Wi-Fi, a drying room and plenty of storage for bikes.

Find out more about Saddle Mountain Hostel on the new website, where you can also book online

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