The Lake District Weatherline's daily conditions reports from Helvellyn commence for the winter season today. For 20 weeks - from 1st December until Easter - the two felltop assessors work on a shift to report on the state of snow and ice on England's third highest, and typically snowiest, mountain.
Winter arrived in Cumbria a couple of weeks ago, with deep snow down to fairly low levels and even some substantial avalanches. Though it has since thawed, ground conditions are sure to get wintry again, making the conditions reports an invaluable safety resource.
This season, the service, run by the Lake District National Park, is offering extra tips to keep fell walkers safe.
#summitsafely is a new campaign that will run for the duration of assessors’ season. The pair, Jon Bennett and UKH contributor Graham Uney, will be tweeting their top 20 safety tips from @LakesWeather, sharing short videos on the lakedistrictweatherline.co.uk website, and running special safety kit giveaways. And for those who feel inspired to take to the snow-topped high fells, Graham Uney will be returning with his popular one-day Winter Skills courses, covering the basics of axe and crampon use.
Celebrating his tenth season as a Weatherline fell top assessor this year, Jon’s top safety tip is: ‘if in doubt, turn back’.
“The mountains will be here another day, it’s more important not to put yourself or others at risk" he says.
"This is what the #summitsafely campaign is all about – we want people to have an amazing adventure and share their inspirational #summitsafely photos – it doesn’t matter whether it’s a walk round Ullswater or a hike up Helvellyn. In return, we’ll be sharing a range of simple, effective tips, such as taking a spare hat and gloves, through to using a GPS, in a bid to keep Lake District winter walkers safe this winter.”
Graham Uney, who is returning for a third season, adds:
“As a National Park, the Lake District is everyone’s to enjoy, but during winter it’s important that people take a moment to prepare for a range of weather conditions. The reports that Jon and I share on Weatherline every day help people take a boots-on-the-ground view of the fells, and our Winter Skills courses will add to their preparation.”
- You can follow the fell top assessors on Twitter @LakesWeather and visit www.lakedistrictweatherline.co.uk for daily fell top reports.