One in 100 for peak position

Published on: 25 Nov 2014

A self-confessed mountain man has clinched a top job recording weather on daily treks up a Lake District summit.

Graham Uney was selected from 100 applicants for the role of fell top assessor on 950 metre Helvellyn, a bizarre, high-level lifesaving post.

A strong field of hopefuls with experience in British Antarctic Survey, Scottish avalanche service, Romanian cave and UK mountain rescue had answered the call to action. A seven-day shift is equivalent to almost reaching Everest's summit.

Running from December to Easter, the role sees a team of two working alternate weeks for Weatherline. The phone and online service helps protect 15 million visitors and locals from conditions that can change rapidly and fatally on the fells.

It was a pull Graham Uney, an outdoor instructor and operator in Snowdonia, was unable to resist.

He explained: "I have lived in the Lakes, where I ran my own company, Wild Ridge Adventure. The prospect of returning to stay for my weekly shift is great. There's nowhere quite like it."

Graham started hill walking when he was eight, was rock climbing at 12 and by 18 had completed all the Wainwrights. He has done them all again, four times.

Other achievements include all the English and Welsh summits over 2,000ft, extensive winter experience, instructing in mountain skills and being a member of rescue teams.

He joins long-standing Lakes' fell top assessor, Ambleside-based Jon Bennett, to brave driving rain, snow drifts and wind chill temperatures plummeting to minus 16C.

Jon said it was vital in winter months to check conditions underfoot and assess risks, including potential avalanches, and that daily Weather reports were a lifeline.

Tens of thousands use the service and when it was threatened with closure three years ago, a raft of sponsors came to the rescue. Money-making ventures include offering a day with the assessors on eBay.

Head of Lake District National Park commercial services, Liz Moss, said Weatherline was almost beyond value.

She added: "We have some of the world's most spectacular mountains and keeping those venturing on them as safe as possible is paramount.

"The calibre of the 100 applicants was incredibly high and we are delighted that Graham is joining us, bringing with him a wealth of experience and knowledge."

Assessors' reports are combined with Met Office mountain forecasts to give the fullest possible picture. Weatherline is on 0844 846 2444 (Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company's access charge) or website  http://www.lakedistrictweatherline.co.uk/

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