CM – Dozens of people were snowed in for three nights in an English pub


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David Mack

Posted on Nov 29, 2021 at 4:35 pm ET

The Tan Hill Inn in Yorkshire Dales National Park after light snow in March

Friday night dozens of people braved the cold weather and went to a secluded pub in Yorkshire, England to listen to live music and to go in enjoy a few drinks.

The unexpected stop was the result of Storm Arwen, who covered the region in heavy snow and whipped power lines with winds of up to 150 km / h, leaving tens of thousands without power.

More than 100 tickets had been sold for the Friday performance of the Oasis tribute band Noasis at the Tan Hill Inn, but in the end only 61 people made their way to the pub. While the wind was raging outside, the night owls in the music hall of the pub danced and swayed to the rock cover of the band from “Wonderwall”.

“It was mental. You opened the door and you could see how tall it was, ”said Becky Longthorp, who had traveled two hours from her home to see the band. “We had been drinking too, so it felt disoriented. I thought, ‘This is dangerous.’ ”

That was when everyone at Tan Hill Inn – the guests, the staff, even the band – decided to stay the night. And then on Saturday they stayed a different one. And then another.

« We arrived on Friday and when the weather got stronger I knew it was going to be a long weekend! » Patron Tom Rigby told BuzzFeed News.

How many UK tavernas has The Tan Hill Inn has a couple of guest rooms and beds, but certainly not for that many people. Some had traveled to the gig in mobile homes, but many others planned to leave after the show. Longthorp had planned to camp in a tent. Instead, they all had to sleep in the pub.

« It was a blizzard. It was crazy. The wind had torn the tent to shreds, ”said Longthorp. “The first night we sat maybe 15 on couches. We just lay where we could. It was like an overnight stay for an adult! « 

 » It was when we woke up on Saturday morning and you think wait a minute. It’s not that much fun. « 

Located in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the Tan Hill Inn is Britain’s highest pub at 1,732 feet above sea level. Snow is a common headache. When the pub was formerly owner in 2017 sold, she warned that she had been snowed in about 50 times in her 12 years. In 2010, 30 New Year’s Eve owls were stranded there for three days. Around 200 people had to spend the night in 2016 after they had seen the performance of the band Scouting for Girls. < When the sun rose that Saturday after that first night, the scene around the Tan Hill Inn was like a frozen tundra, the cars covered in snow blocking the pub's doors and windows, even if you dig your way officials in the area warned that it was still not safe to drive.

A meeting was held in the hall where the band had played the night before h stay seated. But with disconnected power lines and abandoned vehicles blocking streets, those trapped knew that help was a long way off.

To pass the time, the guests played board games and cards together. They sang karaoke and held a quiz competition. The band, who apologized to the fans that they couldn’t do their next show in Essex, even sang a few more tunes. Some meals were provided for free, while others were sold at half price. The alcohol kept flowing – it’s a pub after all.

« We all had a good drink for three days, » said Longthorp. “I think they got their money’s worth.”

As the situation of the pub-goers spread, the tavern owner Nicola Townsend began giving media interviews. She has appeared on the UK morning broadcasts, Sky News, the BBC and on the radio. She was interviewed by the New York Times. The story made headlines in Italy, Germany and Sweden. The whole time she was still trapped.

« It’s like having a very large group of friends over for dinner, » Townsend told the Telegraph. “They have become quite a friend – like a big family, I can best describe it. One lady actually said: ‘I don’t want to leave.’ “

The guests praised the hardworking staff, who ensured their safety and fed them warm roasts. Customers passed a collecting bowl and raised hundreds of dollars to thank the seven employees for their unexpected three-day shifts.

On Monday morning, the snow plows had cleared the neighboring streets and the guests were finally able to leave. Longthorp said she was thrilled to come home and take off the clothes she had been wearing since Friday. Rigby said he was relieved to be back in his own bed.

« We were definitely ready for a shower, but I think we’ll be without wine for a night or two now, » he said.

On the pub’s Facebook page, staff shared a photo of the guests huddled together in the music hall, stranded but smiling. « We will ALWAYS remember this group of great people who came together and hopefully enjoyed what we believed to be a life-changing experience under difficult circumstances, » wrote the bar staff.

There are already rumors that diners will become one next year Could return to the Tan Hill Inn bye – albeit perhaps with more overnight supplies.

« I think it’s the whole spirit, » said Longthorp of the global appeal of the story. “Everyone was thinking of getting stuck somewhere. But in a pub? How cool is that! « 

David Mack is Senior Breaking News Reporter for BuzzFeed News and lives in New York.

A BuzzFeed News investigation conducted with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists based on thousands of documents the government refused to see.


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