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Thoughts On Bunkhouses

Blog Date - 19 July 2018

Sharon and I had a splendid 250 mile ride around North Wales 2 weekends ago. While stopped along the A4212 by Afon Tryweryn near Bala we met with another biker, Mike.

Afon Tryweryn lake is bathed in sun surrounded by green hills and blue skies
It's a hard life on the road.

Mike, the lucky git, had been on a tour. Between visiting family and friends he'd stopped at a bunk house in Llanfairfechan called Platt's Farm Camping. He said it was clean, comfortable and very very affordable. He later contacted me to tell me he'd also thoroughly enjoyed Beili Neuadd in Rhayader where he'd stayed after we met him.

I've never taken to the idea of using a bunkhouse. I think I was put off as a child on a school or scout trip. 10 to 20 young annoying children all in one room, I don't like kids, I didn't like kids even when I was a kid myself. This left me as an adult fearing the idea of a large room filled with farting, snoring, belching smelly blokes. 

Oft times when I'm touring Sharon is with me. I then imagine myself in the said room with the farting, snoring, belching smelly blokes and Sharon in the ladies' room down the corridor filled with farting, snoring, belching smelly women. It's hardly the recipe for a Mills and Boon romantic escaped now is it.

Sharon in the rain with her scarf pulled over her face looking cold and wet
Motorcycling - so romantic and dreamy isn't it.

I've had a cursory look at the websites for Platt's Farm Camping and Beili Neuadd. My notions of bunkhouses are at best out of date, at worst completely wrong. Both of them offer smaller rooms with 4 to 6 bunks per room. Both of them look smart and fresh and comfortable. They have kitchen facilities. What's not to like?

4 images from bunkhouses showing smart kitchens, bunks and surroundings
Images courtesy of Mike Dancer - thanks Mike!

Well, OK, it's still not perfect. I would be sharing a room with strangers and I'm still unsure if Sharon would or could be in the same room. Do they separate by gender these days, CAN they separate by gender these days? Of course ideally we'd have our own room with en suite but then we'd be paying top dollar for that, it's called a hotel. I have to accept some degree of compromise.

Presently my thinking is this. When touring with Sharon our tent is still the cheapest accommodation that also offers a small degree of privacy. At £15 and £19 per person per night for Sharon and I a night in these bunkhouses would cost £30 or £38 for us both. We can, if we shop around, get a pod for a similar amount or a tad more and that gives us our privacy. If the weather is awful and/or we need a break from camping then a pod seems to be our best bet.

A wooden camping pod with the motorcycles parked on the grass outside
For 2 people sharing and *IF* you can find a bargain a pod is cost effective.

However! Regular readers will know I like to take a winter trip to break up the grim misery of the post Christmas British winter. Having spent 2 trips shivering myself into oblivion I'm seriously considering using a bunkhouse for this coming grim season's tour. With there only being myself the price compared to camping is fairly equal, I can cook which saves a fortune and I'll be warm, well warmer than the tent at least.

This would also provide me with some experience of bunkhouses. I could get to grips with how they work, what is expected, what sort of people I may meet and whether or not they'll be a suitable option for both Sharon and I when we're touring. I'm not expecting bunkhouses to be the perfect answer but I do need to open my mind to see if they could be another choice when we're on the road.

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Reader's Comments

Rod said :-
Ren, I see the attraction of not taking all the camping gear. I have had a quick look at air b&b in the past,but I always come back to the independence that camping provides.
20/07/2018 21:13:26 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I understand that, I'm trying to open myself up to other options. I still feel the tent is the best option most of the time but it'll be handy to have additional choices. I'll never know until I try!
21/07/2018 06:55:30 UTC
Sharon said :-
I see you dug out yet another best charming photo of me. Hmmm.
As a rather err private person the idea of sharing a room with strangers both unsettles me and intrigues me. Not sure, not sure at all. But as you say you don't know till you try.
28/07/2018 08:15:59 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
.... There are lots of things I know I won't like without trying them......
28/07/2018 11:12:25 UTC
Henrik said :-
There is a lot of things that I have tried, and don't need to try again :-)

When dating this woman in Paris some years ago, I didn't want to stay at her place, at leat not for an start, and decided to try one of these "hostels" with bigger sleeping rooms and stacked single-beds in 2-3 layers

Party all night long in the backyard, each night, people from Soumi singing drunken songs from their homeland

This couple, love pigeons, despite having each their own bed, decided to move together in the singlebed right over me, not that they made any sounds keeping me from sleeping, but I expected the bed to collapse any second :-(

That was the year, I realised I was getting old,..

No I am even older :-) ...
28/07/2018 12:08:51 UTC
Henrik said :-
Last line shoud have been:

"NOW I am even older"
28/07/2018 12:09:56 UTC
Henrik said :-
I know its expensive traveling, and a moneyflow is nessesary,..

However the picture of Sharon surprised me, another "Ma Baker" it seems, the old pictures started to flash inside, and so did the ancient tune with Boney M ,.. thanks for good intertainment :-) ...
28/07/2018 12:28:05 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I don't have to stick my hand in a grinder to know it'll hurt. Hopefully going to a hostel won't be quite as traumatic.

I've had some bad experiences camping as well as the good ones. I don't expect hostels to be perfect I'm hoping they'll be a useful option.

As for Sharon. She's been singing "Ma Baker" to me and she sings like a cat being strangled. She is actually a secret agent for some government somewhere, she'd like to tell me but she'd have to kill me. Personally I suspect due to her political beliefs it's the KGB.
28/07/2018 19:50:56 UTC

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