PH wrote:An alternative view would be that the majority of these groups are children and young people and prioritising them is closer to the original aims than looking after the usually rather older cycle tourist or other independent traveller.
I think what motivates a lot of us older people to express our concerns about the YHA is in fact our recollections of how we used hostels as young teenagers. We were young then and hostels gave us our first taste of independence and freedom. They also provided a real physical challenge, gave us a glimpse of rural life and simple living (sometmes without electricity such as at Tanners Hatch and Hindhead) and introduced us to an amazing variety of buildings. We are cycle tourists now because of that opportunity then. I like to think that we instinctively know that a coachload of school children in a purpose-built hostel with full amenities will have a different experience from ours. What I owe to the YHA is priceless - no wonder I bemoan its passing.