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Fell Top Conditions on Friday 23 March

Readings from Helvellyn summit at 13:00

Temperature minus 0.2°C Maximum wind speed 27.0mph Wind chill minus 8.2°C Average wind speed 21.5mph Wind direction SW

A day of heavy rain, gusty winds and a freezing level just below the summits. The remaining snowpack is thawing with the top few inches now saturated. However beneath this there is still a layer of hard refrozen snow or ice in many places

The majority of the snow is above 650m with a few predominantly south facing slopes almost bare to summit level. Above 800m there is a thin layer of new snow increasing in depth with height. The hard old snow on the exits to Striding and Swirral Edges is now covered with a few inches of new snow and any old footsteps are hidden.

Anyone venturing above 650m should go fully equipped with ice axe and crampons to deal with the large patches of old snow they will encounter. The forecast slight drop in temperatures over the weekend will refreeze this snow giving serious conditions underfoot. Having the ability and equipment (ice axe) to stop a simple slip becoming something far more serious is essential. This includes all routes to the summit of Helvellyn including the popular paths from Wythburn and Swirls.

The crest of Striding Edge has some new snow but is predominantly rock. However the easier path on it's northern flanks is still fully banked out with serious consequences for any slip. Critically the exit onto the plateau involves a unavoidable steep bank of hard snow on which crampons and an ice axe are essential.

Swirral Edge is holding a lot more snow than Striding and the whole of the final climb is on snow and exposed rock.

The Helvellyn plateau was a mixture of snow and bare ground with some large areas of ice now developing. There are still very large cornices above N through E to S facing slopes many of which are cracking and slumping. Please give these a wide berth as they are prone to failure in these conditions.

Despite views to the contrary from the valley full winter clothing and equipment including ice axes and crampons are still required for a safe and enjoyable day in the Lake District fells.

Lake District Forecast for Sunday

A fine, dry and sunny day for the vast majority, but perhaps a few isolated light afternoon showers and always a touch cloudier across western most peaks such as Great Borne.


Good or very good, becoming moderate in any showers.

Hill cloud

Generally 75%, but 50% in the far west where cloud bases broken down to 500-600m across western aspects at times.


West or Northwest 10-15mph


  • Valley: Lowering plus 2C by dawn, then rising 10C during afternoon, before falling plus 5C late evening
  • At 800m: Minus 2C to Zero C
  • Freezing level: 600-800m

Outlook for next few days

Monday 26 March

A fine, dry day with plenty of sunshine, though this will turn hazy through the afternoon as higher cloud spreads from the west, which eventually thickens and lowers to bring periods of rain and summit snow late evening. Freezing level 600-800m lifting 1000m later. Winds generally light.

Tuesday 27 March

Periods of occasionally heavy rain, probably clearing for a time around mid-day, particularly across eastern aspects. Over the very highest summits turning wintry at times. Summit winds fresh. Freezing level above all summits.

Wednesday 28 March

Showers or longer periods of rain, turning increasingly wintry across higher peaks.

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