The Inn at the Top by Neil Hanson

Published April 15, 2021

The Inn at the Top by Neil Hanson

Book info

  • Title The Inn at the Top
  • Author Neil Hanson
  • Year 2013
  • Genre Memoir

Having seen an article in the newspaper about the pub's search for a new manager, they arrived just three weeks later as the new landlords of the The Tan Hill Inn. It is a wild, wind-swept place, set alone in a sea of peat bog and heather moorland that stretches unbroken as far as the eye can see. With only sheep and grouse for company, their closest neighbour was four miles away and the nearest town twelve. They had no experience of licensed trade or running a pub, no knowledge of farming and a complete inability to understand the dialect of the sheep farmers who were their local customers. Eager, well-meaning, but in over their heads, our two heroes embarked on a disaster-strewn career that somehow also turned into a lifelong love affair with the Dales.


This is a good memoir about an unlikely adventure managing one of the highest pubs in the country, not just highest in fact but also most remote. It sounds like a complete nightmare to me, but Neil and Sue grab the challenge by the horns and absolutely smash it. The book tells of life at the pub, of the variety of different characters that frequent the pub, and of the rambling moors and nature that surrounds such a wind-swept and remote area.

It’s a good read and there’s a follow-up where the couple come back to own the pub rather than just manage it. Can’t have been that bad then!

Rating: 3 / 5

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