Rowardennan Lodge, Youth Hostel

If you walked the West Highland Way this summer you may have encountered our featured building: Rowardennan Lodge. Rowardennan Lodge is a Youth Hostel sitting on the eastern edge of Loch Lomond in the small settlement of Rowardennan.

The house was built in the mid-19th Century as a shooting lodge but today takes in thousands of walkers keen on completing the popular 94 mile West Highland Way. The walk begins in Milngavie and ends in Fort William.

When Rowardennan Lodge first built, it is unclear who the architect was. A listed building report confirms that extensions were made to the building from 1860-1863 with an east wing added c. 1870. The Dictionary of Scottish architects confirms that John Burnet worked on additions and alternations to the building c. 1870.

John Burnet was a prominent architect based in Glasgow. His connections with the merchants and ship-owners of the Clyde allowed him to design grand houses for them. His most notable work is Glasgow Stock Exchange, located on Nelson Mandela Place and next to Buchanan Street.

Our plans date from the 1960’s when alternations were made to the Youth Hostel. The plans show in detail the workings of a large Youth Hostel with dorms, common rooms, dining rooms and warden’s quarters all featured in the floor plans.

The concept of Youth Hosteling originated through Richard Schirmann. He recognised that there was a lack of cheap accommodation for young people and in 1919 founded the German Youth Hostel Association. The Scottish Youth Association was founded in 1931 and its headquarters are located in Stirling. The Association is a self-funding charity and currently has around 60 hostels throughout Scotland.