Saturday, May 28, 2022

UK’s ‘highest pub’ has been cut off by snow before and was even in a Waitrose ad about it

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Tan Hill Inn pub locked-in by snow was subject of snow lock-in ad for Waitrose in 2017 Waitrose
Life imitating art or art imitating life? Let’s hope the current lockdown doesn’t last until Christmas (Picture: Waitrose)

Does Waitrose predict the future? Some stranded pub-goers might be hoping not.

Dozens of people have spent three nights stranded in the Tan Hill Inn in the Yorkshire Dales after heavy snow and fallen power lines cut the pub off.

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Drinkers headed to the UK’s highest pub, 1,732ft above sea level, on Friday night to see Noasis – an Oasis tribute band.

But when a blizzard set in and dumped three feet of snow on the pub around 61 people, including the tribute band, became stranded.

While there were some rooms available there wasn’t a bed for everyone, and photos showed people settling down in sleeping bags and making do with mattresses on the floor.

Mountain rescue helped remove one person for medical treatment and a few managed to leave in 4x4s on Saturday – but the remainder stayed put.

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Spirits have been kept high by decorating the bar with Christmas decorations, impromptu quizzes, karaoke, film screenings and shared meals.

The Inn has also been keeping the outside world updated on how everyone is doing via social media.

Some guests trapped at the Tan Hill Inn have claimed they ‘don’t want to leave’ (Picture: PA)

Pub manager Nicola Townsend has been strict with opening the bar and has not let anyone enjoy a pint before 3pm.

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The kitchen has run out of sausages and temperatures outside are well below zero, but the overall situation had been described as ‘lovely’.

Nicola said: ‘It’s just been lovely and everyone is in really good spirits… it’s a really good atmosphere.

‘They’ve formed quite a friendship… like a big family is the best way I can describe it.’

One of those stranded has even said they don’t want to leave the 17th-century pub once the snow clears, and plans are afoot for a reunion in 12 months’ time.

Stranded pub-goers kept spirits high in the Tan Hill Inn by hosting quizzes and playing games (Picture: PA)

If it all sounds like something out of cheering Christmas advert – that’s because it is.

In 2017, Waitrose chose the Tan Hill Inn as the setting for a festive ad that saw a group of villages get cut off by a blizzard on Christmas day.

The charming black and white 90-second film sees villagers making their way to the remote pub on a snowy Christmas Day for festive drinks and board games.

It’s all very merry until a cutaway shot shows the weather outside has taken a turn for the worse and the pub is covered in deep snow.

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Tan Hill Inn pub locked-in by snow was subject of snow lock-in ad for Waitrose in 2017 Waitrose
It’s all fun and games until you look out the window and see those snow drifts (Picture: Waitrose)
Tan Hill Inn pub locked-in by snow was subject of snow lock-in ad for Waitrose in 2017 Waitrose
Who wouldn’t choose to be stranded in a pub with a Waitrose feast? (Picture: Waitrose)

Those inside the pub soon realise they have become stranded and can’t even open the front door for the sheer amount of snow.

For anyone unsure about what’s happening, one pub-goer even exclaims ‘we’re snowed in, can’t get out,’ to which there are collective gasps of shock.

Shots of a clock show the hours passing while people gaze out the Inn’s windows as the blizzard rages on outside.

Then, inspiration strikes and the villagers raid the pub’s cupboards finding them remarkably well stocked with only Waitrose products.

Before long, young and old are chipping in to boil carrots, unwrap mince pies and put a Waitrose feast on the table.

It’s not quite clear how long the villagers are stuck in the pub but just as they’re about to sit down to enjoy their dinner rescuers arrive at the front door.

The advert draws inspiration from real life.

In 2010 and 2013 punters were marooned at the same pub for five days when blizzards caused impassible snowdrifts.

But those currently stranded in the Tan Hill Inn may be hoping that art doesn’t imitate life too closely – as with Christmas still several weeks away, the cosiness of being stranded may turn into cabin fever by December 25.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at

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