It's that time of year again when the Lake District National Park's felltop assessors start their daily conditions reports from what is probably England's most consistently wintry hill.
Working alternate weeks, the two felltop assessors, currently Jason Taylor and Jon Bennett, brave whatever the weather throws at them to make daily ascents of Helvellyn.
Their reports on what the snow and ice are up to are posted on the Lake District Weatherline from December to Easter, starting this coming Friday.
Ambleside’s Jon Bennett, a winter mountaineering and weather buff, has been doing his ‘dream job’ for seven years and says it’s awesome being the eyes and ears of Helvellyn.
Tens of thousands use the service, and when it was threatened with closure two years ago a raft of sponsors came to the rescue. Money-making ventures include an ebay auction offering a day with the assessors.
Despite acknowledging how useful people find Weatherline, the head of Lake District National Park visitor services Adam Thomas says that independent funding remains vital for the service's future.
'We can’t over estimate its value' he added. 'We have some of the world’s most spectacular mountains [poetic license? Ed] and keeping those venturing on them as safe as possible is paramount.'
But not paramount enough, apparently, for secure public funding?
'For our communities and farmers, it’s also a much used and valued service' he said. 'Assessors’ reports are combined with Met Office mountain forecasts to give the fullest possible picture.'