First Hostel for Scotland's Newest District

Wednesday, 11 December 2019


“What’s a hostel ?” asked one of the children from our newest elfin group in Falkirk when we mentioned a hostel trip earlier this term. Well now they know and they’re keen to do it again soon !

At the end of November 24 children, 13 volunteers and 2 project staff from our new Falkirk district spent the weekend at Pitlochry Youth Hostel. It was a beautiful clear, dry winter weekend with temperatures dipping to -6C after sunset. The obvious thing to do on Friday night was get out the torches and go to the park !? Volunteers were heard to comment about how this was not a ‘normal’ Friday night activity (or hadn’t been since their teenage years) but no one could deny that the kids loved it and toilet tig proved a good warming activity for those willing to do the running. 

On Saturday the group visited the Pitlochry Dam on the gorgeous River Tummel. The visitor centre provided lots of helpful info on hydro electric power and salmon lifecycles. Highlights were pedalling with our hands to light the light bulbs and pulling all the handles to make the model fish jump up the model fish ladder. Afternoon crafts at the hostel were obvious – co-operatively creating a river of fish (some far more exotic than we could ever hope to find in Scotland !) and paper wind turbines to generate more renewable energy. 

Saturday afternoon also saw us setting off on a penny hike in small groups – a mystery tour of Pitlochry led by the toss of a coin at each junction. As a result of this some of our groups met Santa, some found the sweet shop and some discovered a new park. Whether the penny was strictly followed or sometimes overruled only the groups know but it added a dimension to their tourist experience..

In recognition of St Andrew’s Day Saturday dinner involved baked tatties, haggis and a clan quiz testing our national knowledge. Our clans; Hairy Haggis, Tartan Terrors, Heilan Wildcats, Wacky Wellie and Loupin Salmon all earned a prize. Our clans should also be congratulated on fantastic delivery of their clan duties. A lot of our kids have put themselves in a tricky position for explaining to their parents and carers why they can’t help out more with those chores at home..

On Sunday there was only just time for a closing circle to hear everyone’s favourite moment of the weekend and sing ‘link your hands together’ before the coach arrived. This was the first time most of the children and volunteers had been on a Woodcraft Folk residential, and the first time our original Falkirk group and the three new groups we’ve launched in Camelon through funding from the Big Lottery Scotland Our Place initiative have joined together for an event. The good times we shared will undoubtedly help secure a bright future for Woodcraft Folk in Falkirk.