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Fell Top Conditions on Thursday 17 January

Readings from Helvellyn summit at 12:30

Temperature minus 4.8°C Maximum wind speed 25.2mph Wind chill minus 11.9°C Average wind speed 16.4mph Wind direction NE

A spectacular alpine day on the Lake District fells with plenty of sunshine and cold temperatures.

Terrain was widely frozen from valley level with a dusting of snow above 550m. The snows depth increased with height and it was ankle deep in sheltered locations and to the lee of the summit. Many paths were icy but most of this was avoidable with care.

Where there was direct sunlight on south facing slopes throughout the day the snow and ice has thawed almost to summit level. Conversely north facing slopes have remained fully frozen throughout.

Striding and Swirral Edges had a thin covering of soft snow but the exposed rock was dry giving easy going without crampons. As usual the exit slopes had collected more snow but this was still soft with just some small patches of soft windslab and sastrugi developing.

The summit plateau was a mixture of frozen ground, rime ice and drifts of snow. Winds throughout the day were very variable in terms of strength and direction with random gusts blowing through.

Ice axe and crampons were carried today but not used. However the temperatures are forecast to dip again overnight which will refreeze the remaining snow pack and any ice that began to thaw today. Conditions on the highest fells tomorrow could require the use of ice axe and crampons for safe travel even if if only for short sections.

Lake District Forecast for Saturday

Patchy sleet or snow mainly dying out overnight but the odd light snow flurry is possible throughout the period, falling as rain or sleet below about 400m. Staying cold and largely cloudy but some bright spells may break through across the northern Lake District.


Occasionally poor on high slopes with low cloud and snow at times, mainly early in the day. Mainly good at low levels and more generally across the northern Lakes.

Hill cloud

20% becoming 60%, mainly over northern fells. Extensive cloud above 400 or 500m at first but cloud breaking up and lifting at times, mainly over northern fells.


Southeast 20 gusts 30mph overnight easing to 10-15mph with gusts up to 25mph during the day.


  • Valley: Plus 1 or 2 rising to Plus 4 Celsius during daytime.
  • At 800m: Minus 2 or 3 Celsius.
  • Freezing level: 400m rising to 600m.

Outlook for next few days

Sunday 20 January

Cold, cloudy but mainly dry at first then a band of sleet or snow will move slowly east during the day. Heavy at first but becoming light and patchy and turning to rain at low-levels. Mainly light winds but strong northwesterly on the tops later.

Monday 21 January

Mainly dry and cold with light winds. Outbreaks of sleet or snow arriving late in the day, possibly heavy.

Tuesday 22 January

A lot of uncertainty by this stage but remaining cold. Rain, sleet or snow will never be far away. Winds mainly light.

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