Back in the early 90’s I spent a mad night at The Kirkstone Pass Inn with an ex bo of mine, a bass-player called Jocky.  You approached on a road called The Struggle, but since Jocky lived three miles from John O’Groats – where people died on the hairbends daily just nipping to the shop for milk – The Struggle seemed a veritable glide in comparison.

I was reminded of this night when I turned on my telly box to see Richard Wilson struggling up The Struggle in a vintage car (a blue Morris 1000) for his show, Britain’s Best Drives.

The building was the highest Inn in Europe; no running water, no electricity and you had to shower between 7.05 and 7.07 before they needed the water from the generator for breakfast.  So, Jocky and me and the other four guests all crowded round the small coal fire smoking cheap rollies, drinking whisky, singing mad songs and periodically taking shots at Pool in a bid to stay warm.  But, as a child of the seventies who ‘enjoyed’ caravaning holidays on County Donegal, this Inn was The Ritz to me.

We also enjoyed a haunted 4-poster bed in a room with No Smoking signs and beamed ceilings (both as rare).  And, although it was no more haunted than Grayfriars’ Kirkyard, there were moments when I felt there were three of us in that bed (Princess Diana thought she had problems) but I blame the Glenmorangie – or that weird night porter?  An atmospheric place, nonetheless, and one of the loveliest nights of my life and I always vowed to go back – but never did.

Jocky, the relationship ‘struggle’ having separated us long years ago, if I knew where you were today, I’d tell you that Meldrew’s just been up The Struggle. 🙂 http://www.kirkstonepassinn.com/about.htm

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