Plea to youth hostel boss

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Scottish Youth Hostel Association chief executive Keith Legge will be urged to save its Broadmeadows facility from closure at a crunch meeting on Monday.

Selkirkshire councillor and Ettrick resident Vicky Davidson has organised the talks in Yarrowford Hall, which will be attended by a number of interested parties who wish to see Scotland’s first youth hostel survive beyond this summer.

Among those expected to attend are Paula MacDonald from VisitScotland, Julie Nock, who is responsible for revitalising the valleys economies, officials from Scottish Borders Council and, Ettrick and Yarrow community councillors.

Selkirk’s Paul McGreal will also be at the meeting, representing the mountain biking community, which Ms Davidson believes is a market that could allow Broadmeadows to prosper.

She said: “We want to look at extending the mountain bike route from Innerleithen, through Minch Moor to Yarrowford and bringing it round to Bowhill to round off the route. The youth hostel sleeps 20 and is so well placed that it would suit a group of mountain bikers.”

Discussing other ventures to keep the hostel viable, Councillor Davidson told us: “There is also a shortage of affordable housing in the area and there is space for a live-in warden, so maybe it could be made available for a young couple to live and work there. It would also mean bookings could be made a lot easier.

“We want to keep it open for longer than the current three months of the year. If the SYHA don’t want to keep it open, we will have to look at other ways, but we won’t give up.”

Broadmeadows Youth Hostel, opened in 1931, was earmarked for closure in November, alongside Melrose and Kirk Yetholm, with figures showing occupancy levels for its summer season in 2011 was only 13 per cent.

Originally a row of four cottages, it was converted and gifted to the SYHA by the late William Stewart Morton.