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People who shape places – Scottish hostels launch new film to welcome travellers to the amazing places we call home

A new film from Scottish Hostels portrays the unique and sociable experience hostelling offers for everyone including solo travellers, couples, families and groups of friends.

Filmed at Ballater Hostel, Great Glen Hostel in Spean Bridge, The Cowshed Boutique Bunkhouse on Skye, Oban Backpackers and Coll Bunkhouse, the 8-minute film People Who Shape Places by Edinburgh-based filmmaker Markus Stitz highlights that modern hostels offer a fantastic chance to experience the best of the Scottish countryside. Set in stunning scenery and often right on hiking and cycling trails, their hosts are experts on each area and passionate about helping travellers to make the most of their stays.

Scottish Hostels are independently owned and run, and great places to stay for people who don’t need luxury, but want a comfortable bed, excellent facilities and a warm welcome. The film illustrates that hostels have come a long way from the days of having to share rooms and sleeping in bunk beds, with people now offered a wide choice between private rooms, ensuites or bunkrooms in most hostels.

Dominique Drewe-Martin, partner at Ballater Hostel and Scottish Hostels chair, comments: ‘Hostels are such a sociable experience. I went to hostels from a very young age and I just remember that buzz when you come in a hostel as a small child and you’ve got not just the bedroom, but you’ve got the communal areas and potentially a games room. It’s just such an adventure for a child.’ 

The film also shows how people who work in the hospitality industry are positively shaped by the hostels they work in. Vicky Taylor, Hospitality Manager at the Great Glen Hostel, talks about the positive effect her work in a hostel had on her: ‘I fell in love with hostelling in the area and then meeting the people that were staying. It completely transformed my life, because I then went from what was going to be just a seasonal position to actually staying in the area for over two years now.’ 

Athena Zelandonii, an Australian photographer and writer who now manages the Cowshed Boutique Bunkhouse on Skye, describes the connection of place and people that is unique for Scottish Hostels: ‘I think that one of the really special things about hostelling is how you can develop really close, tight bonds with the people that you meet. You meet people from all walks of life and people that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to meet. And I think often you get drawn to a place because you’ve got so many things in common already, that’s part of the magic of staying in hostels. It’s wonderful especially when you see people keep extending their stay because of the people they’ve met, because of the magic they’ve found in the place that they’ve gone to.’ 

The essence of hostelling is to provide safe, clean, comfortable, friendly accommodation at an affordable price. Guests can cook their own meals and share the communal spaces with other guests, and outdoor enthusiasts can choose hostels which offer drying rooms and bike/equipment storage – not always found in other types of accommodation. 

Scottish Hostels also work closely together with local activity providers like Active Highs, which is based on the grounds of Great Glen Hostel. Conner Kevin Mackenzie, a canoe and raft guide featured in the film, concludes: ‘We’re able to use everything and take full advantage of what we have right beside us at the front door instead of travelling miles and miles away. You have it all right in front of you.’ 

The film is available to watch for free on YouTube.

More information about Scottish Hostels available at

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