Pubs welcome stranded visitors as snow hits the Lakes

The Inn Collection Group provided shelter to those in need as heavy snowfall rendered roads impassable.

Visitors to the Lake District were thankful for venues across the Inn Collection Group's portfolio on the first weekend of December, after heavy snowfall across the region on the Saturday left many people stranded. 

It proved to be a busy afternoon for the group's reservations team and those working front-of-house, with 120 rooms booked across nine properties in the space of two hours, as towns and villages across the area found themselves cut off. 

On what was already a busy weekend in Ambleside, with events including the Hawkshead Christmas Fair and the Grizedale Stages rally taking place nearby, the group was fortunate to be able to offer places to stay for those in need.

It wasn't just tourists that found themselves stranded but locals too, with The Wateredge Inn answering a call for help from Windermere Lake Cruises. The venue offered rooms to staff who found themselves stranded at Waterhead Pier as the winter weather closed in. 

Though all available rooms were booked by early evening, the inns continued to welcome those seeking refuge. The Angel Inn at Bowness ensured its open fires remained burning to provide a warm lounge for anyone left looking for shelter. Around a dozen people took up the offer before the team, led by Sarah McIntosh, could offer up two rooms left vacant by guests unable to make it to the venue, sourcing rooms from other operators for those who remained. 

"Saturday was one of those moments when communities like the Lake District come together and, with our position as an inn, it was important to us that we stepped up where we were needed to help," says McIntosh. 

"We were busy as it was, but we were fortunate to have a few rooms spare that people were able to book and get out of the cold and with the open fires in the lounges roaring, we were able to provide some welcome warmth.

"With the nearest official refuge up in Windermere, those conditions needed those of us in Bowness to come together and all the hospitality businesses combined to make sure people were safe and looked after."

Ensuring no one was stuck in their vehicles overnight, a final sweep of the top end of town was undertaken before The Angel Inn closed at 2.30 am. 

Snow continued to fall heavily throughout the night, but the plough and gritter teams ensured that main routes were accessible by early Sunday morning, meaning those who did not extend their stays could begin their journeys home. 

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