Saturday, 24 August 2013

Jesse James' Bunkhouse, a recommendation.

I know what you're thinking. I want to go to Snowdonia with 20 or 30 of my closest friends and spend some quality time walking up and down big things, throw in a spot of rock climbing and a fairly large splash of booze and you're looking at recipe for the perfect weekend. 

Hang on, did you say 20 or 30 friends? Yes, well what you need is a bunkhouse. Namely Jesse James Bunkhouse just north of Llanberis, right in the heart of the mountains and crags of the Snowdonia National Park. Coincidentally I've just spent a weekend doing just that all thanks to friend and fellow outdoor enthusiast, Wendy, who decided that the above description sounded like the perfect way to spend her 40th birthday. 

Founded by the eponymous Jesse James in 1966 the bunkhouse is the manifestation of Jesse's lifelong philosophy of 'Lo-tech Pragmatism', a kind of make do and mend writ large. It's packed with homemade furniture and memorabilia from a lifetime of climbing and  outdoor pursuits in north Wales. The main bunkhouse sleeps up to 25 and has ample room for kit, boots and bags as well as a drying room, a comfortable lounge and a large dining room. The kitchen is well equipped and we had no problem catering for 20 hungry mouths. 

There is plenty of garden space for kids and barbecuing, although being North Wales you may need a brolly. Jesse also assures me that there's parking for upto 16 cars with a little driver cooperation. As well as the main bunkhouse there are four other smaller accommodation options varying in levels of luxury. 

Jesse himself is a real character and is always around to share a beer and chew the fat, he has a wealth of knowledge of the climbing world and is more than willing to share his expertise. He also makes awesome flapjacks, huge thick, chewy flapjacks, more than able to fuel a busy weekend in the mountains. On our final evening we shared a meal (and a bottle of scotch) with Jesse and sat until late listening to his tales and sharing stories. 

I can't think of any other way to recommend Jesse's bunkhouse more highly than just to say use it, it's a wonderful place, full of character and in the perfect location. 


  1. It was a real joy to hear that Jesse is still going strong.
    I met him in the early 70s when I worked as a youthworker in Surrey.
    We took a party of young in-experienced club members to Jesse's for a week.
    It was great!!
    I haven't seen or spoken to Jess in quite a while but glad to hear about him.

  2. i stayed at the bunkhouse in the mid 70s for a week along with some others from my primary school in mcr,i have very fond memories of my time there and some of the fantastic walks,so pleased to see it is still around along with the great man himself.