Back on Top

31 March 2015

I was up at the highest inn in Great Britain a couple of days ago and was delighted to find it in rude good health. It’s been through a couple of changes of management over the past year or so, not always with ideal results, but a new couple have now taken over the inn and the early signs are very promising.

The first thing that I noticed when I arrived is that the inn has not only been redecorated, but is also cleaner than it’s been in ages. The flagstone floors – dark grey shading into black on my last visit – have now been resorted to their original sandstone colour with all the accumulated dirt removed, and the rest of the pub has had a similarly vigorous clean up. The new owners are warm, friendly and welcoming, and seem to have the drive and enthusiasm to make Tan Hill again a top inn for more than mere reasons of altitude.

The weather was perfect too and when the skies are clear up there you feel like you can see forever, with the moors stretching away unbroken to the horizon. And if you pick a clear, moonless night to go up there, you’ll see an array of stars that is unequalled anywhere else in England. There’s no light pollution at Tan Hill and at 1732 feet ASL there’s a bit less atmosphere between you and the stars too. So you can see more stars than you can shake a shepherd’s crook at, including the Milky Way in all its glory and if you’re really lucky, you might also get a spectacular display of the Northern Lights; it only happens once or twice a year this far south of the Arctic Circle, but when it does it’s a jaw-dropper.