The world turns inexorably on its axis. Here at Saddle Mountain Hostel the seasons have changed from late summer to autumn during the last few weeks. The tell-tale signs are there. The days are becoming noticeably shorter, the leaves are changing colour and have begun to fall. Out in our garden the migratory birds are setting off for warmer climes and in the local fields the stags are resplendent with their impressive antlers. As this is being written we are battening down the hatches for the first proper storm of the season.
Just as nature has its seasons in the Great Glen so there are seasonal changes to the types and numbers of our guests. By the end of August the majority of our general overseas tourists and family visitors have disappeared. During the first half of September we had a final flurry of touring cyclists and long distance walkers on the Cape Wrath Trail or Scottish National Trail. At the moment there are still a few tail end walkers on the Great Glen Way but in a week or so they will have gone too.
For several weeks now the majority of our guests have been hill walkers, our bread and butter for most of the year. Many of them are repeat visitors to Saddle Mountain Hostel and we hugely value the fact that they choose to visit us time and time again.
By the end of October most individual walkers will stay away (barring perfect winter conditions) until about the second half of March. That means that for most of the winter the bulk of our business will come from hill walking clubs who book the whole hostel for a winter weekend get together. Obviously that means a change of lifestyle for us. Between flurries of activity at the weekends we get a chance to deal with maintenance and repair of the hostel, catching up on our sleep and getting into the outdoors. We also have our own “weekend” as we are closed on Tuesday and Wednesday nights between December and Easter (we are closed throughout November).
Of course, before we know it the world has turned again, spring is here and the guests start to return in numbers. The cycle begins again.