Mountain call to stay safe on the fells this winter

Published on: 02 Dec 2015

The Lake District National Park restarts its popular daily weather service this week, asking people to check the Weatherline report as a crucial part of their winter walk preparation.

Two fell top assessors will be working alternate shifts to make the 950-metre walk up Helvellyn every day during the winter, including Christmas day. In addition to being lucky enough to take in the breathtaking views every day, the assessors record temperature, snow depth, wind speed, underfoot conditions and assess risks, including potential avalanches.

Running from December to Easter, the two mountaineers braving the rain, snow and wind chill as low as -16C, are Graham Uney, who returns for a second season, and long-standing assessor, Jon Bennett, who is in his eighth year.

In addition to his fell top assessor role this season Graham Uney will be running a one-day winter skills course for walkers looking to learn the basics of how to use an ice axe and crampons.

Graham says: “Taking a walk in the mountains during winter is a magical experience, but once temperatures drop and ice and snow become an unknown factor, it’s important more than ever to make sure you are fully prepared before heading out to the hills. The Weatherline reports play a vital part in that preparation and the addition of the new winter skills course will give keen winter walkers the chance to learn how to use the right equipment and stay safe.”

The fell top assessors’ daily reports are available on and their Twitter account @LakesWeather

Fell top facts
* A fell top assessor’s nine-day shift is equivalent to reaching higher than Everest’s summit
* The phone and online service helps protect 15 million visitors and locals from conditions that can change rapidly and fatally on the fells
* Although Helvellyn is not the highest peak in the Lakes (third highest after Scafell Pike and Sca Fell), it was selected due to its popularity with walkers and its large east facing headwall that retains the snow and ice
* 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

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