SIH Board of Directors

Our current Board of Directors was voted in at the SIH AGM on March 2017. They are all volunteers and passionate about hostelling:

Dot Mechan, Jessie Mac's, Dunkeld

Dot joined SIH Director in 2013
Myself and my partner started up Jessie Mac’s in Birnam. I came into this having previously worked for over 20 years as a scientist in the NHS - not exactly a natural career progression!! We have converted a guesthouse (formerly a church manse) into a seven bedroom hostel while restoring the décor to make it more sympathetic to its Victorian origins. Although located in a small village we have lots of art, music and outdoor pursuits to suit all kinds of guests. As a Director of SIH I hope to learn from other members of the Board and the membership and contribute where I can. With an excellent quality of Hostel membership I look forward to helping raise the profile of SIH and Hostelling in Scotland.
Dot Mechan, Jessie Mac's Hostel Dunkeld Scotland

Claire Christie, Manager, Morag's Lodge, Fort Augustus

Vice Chair
Claire joined as SIH Director in 2015
I have managed Morag’s Lodge in Fort Augustus, Loch Ness, since 2011. During my time there we have won a host of awards from Hospitality Assured, Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards, and the national Thistle Awards. But by far the most important accolade is what our guests say about us, so we are most proud to have a “Staff” rating of 100% on Hostelworld! Morag’s Lodge ethos is to continually exceed expectations, listening to our guests, proving that exceptional customer service can be delivered at any budget and a solid understanding that if we create memorable experiences for people they will return. Prior to running the hostel I worked for Haggis Adventures, a backpacker tour operator, initially as a Driver-Guide, then moving on to be Groups Coordinator. I continue to work very closely with our sister companies as well as being an active member of Europe’s Famous Hostels. I am also currently a Director of the first ever Tourism Business Improvement District, Visit Inverness Loch Ness. When I am not working I can be found in the mountains or planning my next international adventure!

Christopher Davidson, Haggis Hostels, Edinburgh

Chris joined as SIH Director in 2015
We opened Haggis Hostels on the 19th August 2011.  With my past experience as a head Chef  I have adapted well to the Hostel life. I feel privileged to promote Scotland and hostelling in our fantastic city of Edinburgh and feel a sense of excitement when hearing traveller’s stories and also when suggesting places for guests to visit. We hope to expand our “brand” with another hostel soon. That said we look forward to becoming a part of many more people’s positive travelling experience with the service we provide and our chilled atmosphere.  I am looking forward to my new role as a Chair of SIH and supporting the Independent Hostelling sector in Scotland.

Pat Vallelay, Manager, Portree Independent Hostel, Isle of Skye

Pat joined as SIH Director in 2015
Pat is a veteran of hostel management.  He was a manager of SYHA hostels for 22 years, then became a manager of an independent hostel, Portree Independent Hostel, 3 years ago.  Pat is a former trade unionist and President of Monkland's Ramblers, He is a passionate and prolific walker, especially hills and long distance footpaths. He is married with four sons. 

Yann Syp, Murray Library Hostel, Anstruther

Yann joined as SIH Director in 2015
Yann first joined as Director as Manager of Willy Wallace Hostel in Stirling.  He has now taken the leap of running his own Hostel, having taken on the lease of the newly converted Murray Library Hostel in Anstruther.

Dominique Drewe-Martin, Ballater Hostel, Ballater

Dominique moved from Yorkshire to Aberdeenshire with her husband Daniel in August 2016 to take over Ballater Hostel.  She previously worked in banking for 11 years - so a slight change in career - but they've have never looked back.  

Originally called Habitat @Ballater, the hostel has 25 beds and is set in the beautiful Cairngorms.  They’ve slowly put their mark on the place - officially changing the name in May 2017 - and always been enthusiastic hostellers (first night of their honeymoon was spent in a hostel - Skiddaw House) and they don’t just rely on feedback from guests either – they cook in the kitchen, eat in the dining room and have slept in every bed – they test out noise levels, comfort, usability - all to enhance the customer experience.  They love spending time talking, sharing stories and mixing with their guests.  Dominique personally jumped at the chance to join in a onesie party and they even had one group run a ceilidh from their living room!  She's a keen walker, caver and outdoor enthusiast, dabble in running, occasionally cycle, and is keen to learn the bagpipes and try out orienteering!