Visitors to the Lake District were thankful there was room at the inn on Saturday evening, as The Inn Collection Group welcomed people stranded after heavy snowfall across the area rendered roads impassable.
It proved to be a busy afternoon for the group’s reservations team and those front of house at the inns, with 120 rooms booked across nine properties in the space of two hours, as towns and villages 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 were fortunate to be able to offer a place of refuge to those in need.
Though all available bedrooms ended up booked by the early evening, the inns continued to welcome those in need, with The Angel Inn at Bowness ensuring its open fires remained burning to offer a warm lounge for anyone left looking for shelter.
Around a dozen people took up the offer before the team, led by Sarah McIntosh, was able to offer up two rooms left vacant by guests unable to make the inn and source rooms with other operators for the rest.
Making sure no one was overnighting in stuck vehicles, a final sweep of the top end of town was undertaken before The Angel Inn was able to close at 02:30.
With a significant upswing in guest numbers for the evening as a result, the teams at the inns turned in some sterling work as they soothed the weary souls of those gathered and made the best of the situation.
Though snow continued to fall heavily during the night, by Sunday morning the efforts of snow plough and gritter teams ensured that main routes were accessible allowing those who opted against extending their stay a window in which to start their return journeys.
Reflecting on the community banding together, general manager of The Angel Inn Sarah McIntosh said: “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.
“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.”