Freak "weather bombs" which caused hurricane-strength winds across the north of England and Scotland have devastated trade at several gastro pubs.
Many businesses were forced to close down as raging 128mph winds tore down trees and power lines on 7 January. The ferocious weather forced chefs to abandon their kitchens, according to Donald Newton, licensee at the Highland Drove Inn at Great Salkeld, Cumbria.
He said: "We lost electricity early Saturday morning and didn't get it back until 8.30pm that evening. We couldn't do lunch or dinner service." Even the return of power to the pub has failed to encourage trade, said Newton. "A lot of my business comes from Carlisle. But customers hit by the storm are staying in. I've never had a quieter week."
The storms, caused by icy Arctic air combining with warmer Atlantic waters, forced pubs across Cumbria, including the Drunken Duck Inn and Restaurant in Ambleside to shut. Joint owner at the pub Paul Spencer said: "All bookings had to be cancelled as soon as the electricity had gone. We're going to have to put in an insurance claim for about £5,000 for all the food we've lost."
Gastro pubs in North Yorkshire hit by the severe weather included the Appletree Inn at Marton. The pub lost electricity and several roof tiles during high winds, while the Crab and Lobster at Asenby, expects to forfeit £10,000 from loss of trade.
Licensees north of the border also reported empty tables as customers avoided eating out. Janice Grant, co-owner at Sorn Inn at Sorn in East Ayrshire, said: "It's been one of the worst weeks we've had in recent memory."