One-year on and snowed-in pub relishes warm autumn

AS THE old adage goes, what a difference a year makes.

Exactly 12 months ago, staff at the Lion Inn in Blakey Ridge, Kirkbymoorside, on the North York Moors, faced “the ultimate lock-in” when they were cut off by blizzards last November 26.

Two guests and five workers were stranded up until December 6 at the 16th century freehouse, which has an elevation of 1,325ft and lays claim to being the country’s fourth highest pub.

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But head chef Paul Lawton was yesterday able to raise a toast with a cocktail outside the pub under bright blue autumnal skies.

Co-owner Paul Crossland said: “This year it’s a very different story. We’re pretty high up and pretty exposed up here, but the snow still caught us a little by surprise last year. It all seemed to fall within the space of one evening’s shift – then the drifts really cut us off. It was fun at first but I prefer this. There’s only so much painting and decorating and cleaning you can do. I’d rather be out here with a cocktail than breaking my back with a snow shovel in my hands.”

MeteoGroup, the Press Association’s weather division, said 2011 is shaping up to be the second warmest autumn in England since records began. The record for the warmest autumn was set five years ago.