The snowstorm that led to days of disruption in the U.K. this week left those stuck in a pub — a luxury village located 1,800 feet above sea level — with no food, no phones and no idea when they would get home. And worse, it wasn’t snowing anymore, but instead rain.
The snowmobiling community had watched with great anticipation the assault of “The Beast from the East” on Monday — and then some.
“This storm caught everybody by surprise, and this one seems to have lasted a lot longer than the last one,” Pete Beale, president of the Snowmobiling Federation U.K., told the BBC. “Whilst we had a lot of snow, there was virtually no rain, and the temperatures were quite high.”
Those in Snowdonia National Park experienced rare snowing on Monday, then the entire northeast of England and Scotland saw heavy rain. The hills had snow but then snow and rain combined — a classic line of weather called “washout.” Then on Wednesday —the day when the weather settled — snow began to melt away. But only a mile-and-a-half from the nearest road, the village of Cumbria, where homeowners can take in the views and listen to live music from the pub, had no heat or water.
A desperate few turned to U.K. Radio 1 radio host Nick Grimshaw to get a message out.
“I’m a presenter here and we’re in a pub and we’re in a small village,” he said to his audience on Monday. “We’re in the back room with not much to help us, and all of a sudden we get told there’s no electricity.”
He captured images of the scene after the sudden outage.
I could’ve never imagined the utter chaos this storm caused! They are stuck 1,800ft up! #StormOllie pic.twitter.com/QL2MfRq1MW — Grimmy (@grimmers) February 10, 2018
In those frugal times, (due to his cold climate) Nick grew a beard. His twitter handle would become “Nick G”.
“They’re at the back of the pub, they’re all asleep — they don’t know what’s going on,” Grimshaw said, “and people are queuing around the village, because there’s nowhere else for them to go.”
That Saturday, the top-10-famous event “The Big Full Moon Pub Crawl” — a pub crawl where well-known stars like Jack Whitehall and Fearne Cotton are judged by pub-goers — was cancelled.
The next morning, volunteers set up about 250 tents at the pub.
John Cramp, the general manager of the Sandy Hook Inn, told the BBC: “The cold was probably the worst part. It’s right at the end of our winter time, so it’s completely unprecedented, so we just said to everyone to stick it out for as long as we could.”
Others were less hopeful.
The Mirror published a video of Greg Hicks, from Lewes, in England, who posted a series of pictures and updates on Facebook. He described a social isolation that was damaging his mental health. “How am I going to justify that I’m still waiting for my next meal and I’m sat here … having a hot bath,” he wrote on Facebook. “I’m feeling very alone and very isolated. The outside world is closing in.”
On Friday, Hicks finally got a food delivery. He could see his friends, but none of them had food. It was better than nothing, but at least he had some heat. “I saw pictures of people getting out of snow machines, and say, ‘God no!’” he told the Mirror. “Yeah, they’re all taking it in their stride. I’m trying to cope the best I can.”
His friend, Ronnie Young, has been stuck at the Sandy Hook Inn, and he and Hicks are trying to organize a candlelight vigil, “to show everyone that this is a small village, a full community, that we are just as sad as they are, that this is a once-in-a-lifetime situation, that we are all in this together.”
All told, some 70 people were left stranded for days at the