- Honestly, spending four days at a well-stocked pub sounds like a great time.
The Tan Hill Inn, built in the 17th century, is the highest pub in the UK at 1,732 feet. On Friday, November 26, a crowd of 61 people had gathered at the pub to listen to an Oasis tribute band.
And then the storm hit.
Storm Arwen, one of the worst blizzards to hit the British Isles in years, brought with gale force winds and three-foot-tall piles of snow. What was supposed to be a Friday night trip to the pub turned into a three-night ordeal.
With the roads and the pub’s doors blocked by snow, the guests had nowhere to go. But on November 29, snow plows finally broke through and the trapped pub-goers could finally return home.
“The snow plough has managed to get through this morning and some people got in their cars and followed the snow plough to try to get home,” the pub’s general manager Nicola Townsend said according to the BBC.
So, how distressing was this experience to the trapped crowd? Not so bad. It turns out that a pub will a well-stocked bar and kitchen is one of the better places to get snowed in.
“We’ve all become really good friends actually, the people that are here,” Townsend told The Guardian.
“It sounds a bit like a cliché, but they came as strangers and they’re leaving as friends, they truly are,” she added.
It’s no wonder, though. With nothing else left to do, the visitors continued doing what you usually do in the pub.
The Tan Hill Inn, which had a well-stocked pantry, decided to provide food at heavily discounted prices — or at times completely free. And when we say “well-stocked,” we mean it.
On Sunday, for example, the trapped crowd got to enjoy a traditional British Sunday lunch, with roast beef and Yorkshire puddings. Even their dogs got their share of the beef once the inn exhausted its dog food supply.
“The only thing we really ran out of was breakfast sausages,” the Tan Hill Inn duty manager Donna Harrowell said.
As a result, on Monday morning, the guests had to settle for bacon sandwiches for breakfast. Harrowing.
The crowd didn’t have to go thirsty, either. The inn staff kept the bar open and drinks flowed freely — though the guests still had to pay full price for those.
Perhaps that was for the best.
Songs and Movies
But you can’t spend three days just eating and drinking when you’re stuck with no contact to the outside world. Well, we suppose you could, but that’s how you run out of supplies.
Luckily for the guests, Tan Hill Inn had everything covered. The most obvious source of entertainment was Noasis, the band that had gotten trapped in the pub with their audiences.
When the bad got tired of playing, the inn’s karaoke system continued the festivities.
“The karaoke … was a bit slow to start with, but once they’d had a few more pints, everyone was jumping in and enjoying it. The sounds were incredible,” Harrowell recalled.
On top music, the hotel staffed projected movies and TV shows for their guests. In return, the crowd pitched in and helped with maintaining the place.
“All of them mucked in, collecting glasses, washing dishes, helping out wherever they can. They’ve been brilliant,” said Townsend.
And when it was time to get some rest, the guests and staff shared the inn’s accommodations. Those who couldn’t fit in the rooms slept on couches and mattresses on the floor.
Can We Stay for Another Night?
Not all of the crowd stayed until Monday, though. By the time the snowplows arrived, their numbers had dwindled from 61 to around 50.
Some of the guests had young children at home, so they dug out their 4x4s and braved the snowy roads. A mountain rescue group also had to evacuate one man who needed medical care.
All in all, though, the whole thing doesn’t sound that bad. Two guests even decided to stay at the inn for one more night after rescuers showed up, since they were still worried about the freezing conditions.
“Which is quite handy for us because they’re upstairs stripping beds and helping us get the place back to normal,” said Harrowell.
It’s no wonder that the Tan Hall Inn was well prepared for taking care of their guests. After all, this isn’t the first or even the longest time the place has been snowed in.
In 2013, another blizzard imprisoned four guests and the inn staff for a total of five days. But with a lot fewer people, we can only guess their entrapment was even more luxurious.