As It Happens

Fans went to see an Oasis cover band. They got snowed in for 3 nights at a remote pub

British pub manager Nicola Townsend says staying at work for three nights straight with dozens of customers and an Oasis cover band all stranded by a snowstorm was "no bother at all."

A snowstorm forced dozens of people to camp out all weekend at Yorkshire pub the Tan Hill Inn

Dozens of people spent three nights at the Tan Hill Inn in the Yorkshire Dales, England, after a snowstorm hit during a performance by an Oasis tribute band. (Tan Hill Inn/Facebook )

Story Transcript

British pub manager Nicola Townsend says staying at work for three nights straight with dozens of stranded customers and an Oasis cover band was "no bother at all."

A heavy winter storm cut off access to Tan Hill Inn, widely reported as Britain's highest-altitude pub, over the weekend, leaving 68 people, including seven staff members, stranded for 72 hours. 

"In one word? It turned out to be amazing," Townsend told As It Happens host Carol Off.

"Everybody was really friendly, very accommodating, very patient and just really caring as well. So everyone got along really well, so it was no bother at all."

From Noasis to 'Snowasis'

The saga started on Friday night when a crowd showed up at the pub to enjoy the musical stylings of Noasis, which bills itself as "the definitive Oasis tribute band." 

But while the band was crooning inside, a wonderwall of snow was quickly piling up outside, rendering the roads unsafe. Townsend said pub-goers have since dubbed the experience "Snowasis."

The Tan Hill Inn was prepared. The pub sits 528 metres above sea level in Yorkshire Dales, about 435 kilometres north of London, and staff there are used to being cut off by bad weather. And this storm certainly qualified — Townsend estimated the snow drifts were probably about nine or 10 feet high. 

"I just said I didn't think it was advisable for anyone to leave the building, and that I would make sure that there was somewhere warm to shelter and sleep for the night, and that maybe it wasn't safe to go home," she said. 

Pub goers took part in a trivia game to pass the time. (Tan Hill Inn/Facebook)

With everyone in agreement, she and the rest of the staff set about making sure patrons were warm, fed and entertained — free of cost.

The customers were split between the inn's nine guest rooms, some of them sleeping on couches or mattresses on the floors. 

"People were happy to share," Townsend said. "But we had plenty of duvets and pillows, and so everybody had something to keep them warm and comfortable for the night."

The only thing we ran out of was breakfast sausages.- Nicola Townsend, Tan Hill Inn manager

The following day, it quickly became clear that they weren't getting home any time soon. The storm had toppled a nearby power line, preventing a snowplow from reaching the pub. 

"Once we knew that, I just said to everybody, 'Right. Let's just bed down for the night. Let's get comfortable again.' And everyone was really relaxed about it and there was no bother. They just got on with what they wanted to do," she said. 

A stranded Tan Hill Inn patron makes the most of it while enjoying a free Sunday roast dinner. (Tan Hill Inn/Facebook )

To pass the time, the pub hosted a quiz night, busted out cards and board games, and set up a movie room. Everyone got free meals, including a traditional roast dinner on Sunday.

"We had some very good chefs on site, which was a blessing," Townsend said. "The only thing we ran out of was breakfast sausages."

Noasis also helped keep people entertained.

"They did some acoustic bits, especially round the fire, going to different rooms and chatting with people," Townsend said. "Other people went out to their vehicles and collected their own guitars and played themselves as well."

A few people were able to leave on Sunday. A group of Good Samaritans in an offroad vehicle brought some of the stranded parents home to their young children. And a local rescue organization helped a man with an ongoing medical condition leave to seek treatment, the New York Times reported.

But the rest of the group remained at the inn until Monday, when the roads were finally cleared. 

Townsend likened the saga to "being at a party with friends," and said the group plans to meet up at Tan Hill Inn again next year to commemorate Snowasis.

"They're hoping it's one night, but I think some of them would be quite happy to stay there," she said with a chuckle. 


Written by Sheena Goodyear with files from The Associated Press. Interview produced by Chloe Shantz-Hilkes. 

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