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Fell Top Conditions on Sunday 16 December

Readings from Helvellyn summit at 14:00

Temperature plus 0.2°C Maximum wind speed 22.0mph Wind chill minus 5.6°C Average wind speed 17.2mph Wind direction SW

A proper wintry feel to the fells today, even with a lack of snow. There was patchy ice on paths above 500m, and with a freezing level at around 700m a general covering of sheet ice was present everywhere about that height. Crampons were essential to walk on this, and it was interesting to see the number of people who reached the col between Swirral Edge and Catstycam, some of them on their hands and knees, turn around and head straight for the pubs and cafes of Glenridding. A very wise decision, but definitely one that was forced upon them today. It was impossible to stand on the ice above that altitude without some form of spikes on your feet. This made the upper fells very quiet indeed. Swirral Edge and Striding Edge are both currently in full winter condition, requiring the use of ice axe and crampons to make a safe ascent or descent, and all paths onto the Helvellyn plateau were also covered in sheet ice. Snow is currently almost absent, other than small patches in sheltered places, but this didn't make the fells feel any less wintry today.

The cloud base on Helvellyn was about the same height as the freezing level - around 700m, making for difficult navigation. A few people weren't sure of how to descend to Glenridding, and while the assessor was happy to help, had they not met him today these people would have been in serious difficulty without maps and compasses.

Full waterproofs and warmth layers are always essential on the winter hills, as are winter mountain boots, an ice axe and crampons, map and compass, and plenty of food and a hot drink. Come well equipped, and you'll enjoy a fabulous mountaineering day out on the Helvellyn range,

Lake District Forecast for Tuesday

Very windy with extremely challenging walking conditions on high ground. Patchy rain in early hours but rain will become heavy and persistent through the morning and last for most of the day to give drenching conditions. Heavy rain clears away to the east around early evening followed by clear intervals and scattered showers, wintry on summits.

Visibility

Poor for most of the day with low cloud at height and often a few km or less at low levels. Becoming clearer later as rain moves away east.

Hill cloud

Almost nil due to persistent cloud with bases 400-600m for most of the day. Becoming 70% through evening as cloud lifts and breaks up.

Wind

Southerly average 50-60mph with gusts 80mph, easing 20-30mph gusts 40mph around early evening.

Temperatures

  • Valley: Plus 9 or 10 Celsius, falling to Plus 2 Celsius after dark
  • At 800m: Plus 5 Celsius, falling to Plus 2 Celsius after dark.
  • Freezing level: 1700m falling to 1100m in evening.

Outlook for next few days

Wednesday 19 December

Bright spells and occasional showers, wintry above 600m. Feeling cold with fresh or strong southerly winds and freezing level 900m.

Thursday 20 December

Another day of sunny intervals and scattered showers, wintry above 600m. Winds west or southwest, light, occasionally fresh on summits. Freezing level 900m

Friday 21 December

A dry, bright and frosty start but rain, preceded by summit snow, may spread east in the afternoon. Strengthening southerly winds.



An overview to the weather in the Lake District

Summer:

The summer season in the Lake District actually runs from March to October. The driest period runs between March and June.

The weather is renowned for changing rapidly and rainfall is a predominant feature. The wettest area in the Lake District is known as Sprinkling Tarn which receives approximately 5000mm of rainfall every year!

Winter:

The wettest months run from October to January.

Snowfall typically falls from November to March. The valleys of the Lake District receive around 20 days of snow and 200 days of rain per year.

Winter is actually a beautiful time of year to enjoy the spectacular views.

It’s important to stay safe during the Winter period, especially if you are considering exploring the fells. If you’re a fan of the Lake District in Winter, why not register on one of our Winter Skills Courses? Learn more