Hello! I hope this finds you well and gradually getting back into the swing of things after Christmas.
So here we are, at the start of another year and despite the shorter days and the cold, wet and windy weather, this time of year always fills me with renewed hope. The snowdrops are slowly starting to appear and it won't be long until Spring is here, and Skiddaw House is open once again.
At this time of year, I think it's good to look back on the achievements of the previous 12 months, and also look forward to what's happening in the new year. So let's do that.
The hostel re-opened on Saturday 1st March. Prior to the opening we revamped our website, which made it much easier for guests to pay for their stay, as well as their breakfasts and packed lunches, by PayPal. It also gave easy access links to our Facebook, Twitter page, and Trip Advisor. Talking of Trip Advisor, we've had some fantastic reviews this year - please keep them coming.
We had many more people staying with us during the Spring and Summer of 2014. Including some new Scouts and D.O.E groups. We even had some North Face clothing staff come and stay, who were testing out some new outdoor gear. As well as a group of 40 pilgrims who dropped in for a quick cuppa on their way to Carlisle.
With the help of Skiddaw House Volunteers, and despite a period of ill-health, the hostel Manager, Martin, fixed a faulty generator and dealt with some water leaks, amongst many other things. We said au revoir, not goodbye, to one of our long term volunteers, Stephen, who has moved away from Cumbria after helping us out with the trees and hedges for the past 20 years. We wish Stephen well in his new life.
Between now and when we open again on 1st March 2015, we're making some exciting new changes to Skiddaw House. These include improving the all day shelter by enlarging it and adding a toilet and new changing area. This means that pre-booked guests, who arrive early, will be able to gain access to the shelter (or as we like to call it 'The Refuge') by entering a key code access code.
We're also Installing a new washroom upstairs for the men, so this will give both men and women their own washrooms near the bedrooms.
Some of the windows and external doors will also be replaced, to provide additional insulation and allow us to save fuel. We are also going to re-organise the Common Room to give you a more comfortable, spacious area to relax in.
All the above work is only possible due to the grants we've received and money donated by the many Friends of Skiddaw House. So we'd like to say a big thank you to everyone who donated, and hope that you'll come to visit us in 2015.
Best wishes for an exciting New Year,
Marie & Martin (the Hostel Managers)