A trip to Scotland

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This month, a trip to Scotland and walks along the Spey…

and plenty of time to reflect on the travels and adventures of Jack Catchpool, YHA’s first national secretary. For me, there’s no finer stimulus for creative thinking than long train journeys and walking.

My journeys were easier than Catchpool’s. He took some truly terrible trips on trains in Russia in the midst of the revolution and civil war.

He learned that travel set people free, that travel broke down barriers and that travel brought mutual understanding among people. He set about helping young people to experience travel and adventure, first through the Workers Travel Association and then by providing youth hostels with the Youth Hostels Association.

He brought his own perspective to youth hostels which he called his hobby horses and I’m finding my research into his life fascinating.

Some of that research is taking me into the work of Quakers and their links with youth hostels. It’s an area that has always intrigued me and I was pleased when The Friend published a two part article I had written on those links earlier this month.

The article is only available on subscription but in time I’ll make it available here. Meanwhile here’s a photo Jordans youth hostel, opened in 1933 as a joint venture between youth hostels and the Quakers and still open today.

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Photo courtesy YHA

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