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Fell Top Conditions on Sunday 17 December

Readings from Helvellyn summit at 14:50

Temperature plus 3.7°C Maximum wind speed 36.5mph Wind chill minus 3.5°C Average wind speed 26.0mph Wind direction NW

A wet day on the high fells as a turbo-thaw came in during the night. Today there was still a lot of snow and ice on the fells, even as patches as low as 300m. The thawing snow made for difficult walking conditions, as every step was different, from wading through deep, soggy drifts to balancing carefully on still-frozen patches. This made for hard walking, and this coupled with reduced visibility gave a challenging day for anyone venturing onto the fells. The snow at its deepest was up to 80cm today, but further thawing overnight may reduce this.

There are cornices on aspects from north through to south-east, and some of these have slumped and are ready to fall. Stay well back from these bottomless waves of snow. Where snow and ice has fallen from crags there have been a number of small sluffs, and any continuing thaw will result in cornice collapse which could be enough to trigger small to medium-sized avalanches.

Anyone heading into the fells at the moment should have a full set of good waterproofs if they want to remain cheerful. Warmth layers, including spare woolly hats and waterproof gloves are essential, as is a map and compass, and a headtorch. Should the temperatures drop at all overnight the paths tomorrow will quickly turn extremely icy, and the snow will also harden up, so an ice axe and crampons may well be needed tomorrow.

Lake District Forecast for Tuesday

A generally cloudy day with outbreaks of mainly light rain or drizzle. Best of any brighter spells expected across the more sheltered northern and eastern fells.


Good falling to just a few kilometres in rain and drizzle.

Hill cloud

Little chance for many fells with periods or persistent cloud above about 450m, with patches below, but rising to around 30% over eastern and northern fells as cloud becomes occasional above 600m at times


Southerly or southwesterly winds around 20mph with gusts around 35mph over ridges and summits


  • Valley: Around plus 3 or 4 Celsius rising to plus 9 Celsius
  • At 800m: Around plus 4 Celsius
  • Freezing level: Well above the summits

Outlook for next few days

Wednesday 20 December

Cloudy start with outbreaks of rain but becoming drier and brighter in the afternoon. Occasionally strong southwesterly winds turning more northwesterly and easing. Freezing level falling to around 750m later.

Thursday 21 December

Rather cloudy but mainly dry, best of any brighter spells in the east. Fresh westerly winds. Freezing level rising just above the summits.

Friday 22 December

Mostly cloudy with patchy rain, drizzle and, for a time, summit snow, with eastern fells likely to see the best of any brightness. Fresh southwesterly winds. Freezing level just above the highest summits and rising.

An overview to the weather in the Lake District


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!


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