The Salutation Inn, Threlkeld, Cumbria, doesn’t welcome vegans

“Hello, I’m just calling to let you know about something for our stay next week.”

“Oh yeah?”

“One of us is vegetarian, the other is vegan.”

“That’s not a problem. Bye -”

“Hang on. So that’s OK, you know what a vegan is?”

“Oh yes, that will be fine.”

“OK that’s really wonderful. We’ll also be needing a packed lunch – will that be alright for a vegan?”

“Oh yes – you just pick one of the sandwiches and a drink and a chocolate biscuit – ”

“And what sandwiches would you have?”

“Well, we have ham, tuna, prawn…”

“Hang on, none of those are even vegetarian. Do you actually know what a vegan is?”

“Well I was just telling you what sandwiches we did.”

“That’s OK. So what do you have for a vegan?”

“Well, what do you eat?”

“Um, no meat, fish, dairy or egg. Peanut butter is alright, and – ”

“Oh yes, that will be fine. OK, bye – ”

“Hang on – I think I’d better speak to the kitchen. Oh, or maybe it’s busy at the moment – dinnertime and that…”

“Oh yes, it’s very busy.”

“Well could you tell me a time to call back?”

“Tomorrow.”

“What kind of time?”

“After 12. Bye.”

“Bye.”

And you would be amazed how often this happens.

Then the woman phoned me back to tell me that she had talked to the chef and it was going to be salad or nothing. She told me I was free to bring anything I wanted. I tried to debate her. I talked about how peanut butter is cheap and how it keeps, but how it is also rather heavy for a walker to carry – we’ll be walking 120 or so miles that week. She said I could leave the peanut butter when I left the next morning. I reminded her that there would be the next place to worry about, and the place after that. Probably where I lost her is trying to defend veganism and suggesting that she should be prepared to cater for vegans since there is so much choice for us now. I dared to suggest that non-vegetarians could equally enjoy food that was vegan. She said she didn’t need a lecture and suggested I stay elsewhere. I said I’d be lucky to find anywhere else (we’re on a walking holiday and it’s in the middle of the country) and I would like to keep my reservation. I thanked her for finding out the information, which I appreciated, and told her that reluctantly I would resort to carrying a jar of peanut butter around the countryside to stave off malnutrition. Then I said goodbye. I wasn’t looking forward to staying there anymore, but I didn’t think we’d have much choice this late on in high summer.

Then she called me back again and told me we couldn’t say with her. I told her she’d left us high and dry. She asked for my address to refund the deposit.

I’m very tired of this kind of thing. And that’s about all I have to say on it at the moment because I’d better look for another place to stay. And I’m also a bit upset because I’ve been made to feel like an unwanted guest.

All I asked for was peanut butter.

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5 thoughts on “The Salutation Inn, Threlkeld, Cumbria, doesn’t welcome vegans

  1. I remember that conversation well, and yes I am the lady that you spoke to on the phone! I think it is amazing how much time you have on your hands to rant on about your choice to be a vegan, you will find that salad is a nutritional meal ( a lot more so than peanut butter!) I also offered you pasta, and we were quite happy to make you something if you brought it in to our public house. But that is not good enough?!?! can i ask who on earth would accomodate this request on buying in special foods for someone who is only staying one night? We had a business to run and there were choices availiable! We have had many vegans stayed with us in the past and it was funny as we didnt have to ‘debate’ with them. So I would maybe ask yourself was it really because you just asked for peanut butter??

  2. You said above “can i ask who on earth would accomodate this request on buying in special foods for someone who is only staying one night?”

    The Howbeck Inn in Hesket Newmarket was lovely – and they were dairy farmers so I really appreciated that. Seriously appreciated it. And it was a great stay that we had. I wrote up the conversation my other half had with them, too. It compares favourably to the one I had with you.

    More. The Woolly Sheep in Skipton got me soya milk and vegan margarine without me even asking. The Castle Inn near Keswick, the chef made me mist up with gratitude because he’d done me a choice of four starters and four mains. The White Rose in Askrigg really went to town for me with a vegan three course meal. The Kings Head in Gunnerside did me an off-menu 2 bean curry lunch – I wasn’t even staying. Then there was the wonderful Gwalia near Machynlleth in Wales – they completely understand vegans. And Brandlehow in Penrith, which must be right up there for fantastic vegan-friendly breakfasts. They had vegetarian sausages and vegan sausages, and a fruit compote with soya milk – I didn’t even have to ask, they offered it as standard because they care about people with unusual diets. And all but one of these places offered dishes for meat-eaters too. All were putting us up for one night. We didn’t have to look too hard for them, either. And I’ve missed out many others where we’ve been welcomed as valued customers.

    You know, I call to make arrangements in advance for a reason. I know it’s hard for B&B owners and inns, and I don’t want to ask too much.
    I admit that ideally we would have had this conversation with you at the time we booked, but then again, over a week’s notice was plenty for a lot of other places on that trip. I don’t want to be existing on starches and vegetables for a whole week of long distance walking. And call me picky, but I want to be sure that my hosts actually understand what a vegan is. And why not? All the places above were accommodating on the diet front. But not you.

    With regard to your little dig at me at the beginning there, the reason I have time to write about it is because, in common with many environmentalists, forecasters of global food yield and population growth, and scholars of animal sentience, I think it’s of enormous importance – and not least for other vegans. That’s why I think you’re coming at this from the wrong angle. I’m kind of wondering if you’d chuck it straight in the bin, but if you’d like me to send you a guide to vegan catering produced by the Vegan Society, drop a comment back.

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