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Fell Top Conditions on Wednesday 20 February

Readings from Helvellyn summit at 12:10

Temperature plus 3.4°C Maximum wind speed 38.1mph Wind chill minus 5.1°C Average wind speed 30.9mph Wind direction SW

The thaw of the remaining snow continues – it was plus 3 degrees on the summit at midday and, more importantly for the speed of the thaw, raining heavily. There is now hardly any snow left below 850m; that which does lies in isolated patches in sheltered spots and hollows. Although the same applies above 850m, the majority of the remaining snow lies on E and N facing slopes.

Most of the remaining snow was wet and easily avoidable with one notable exception – namely the exit to Swirral Edge. For those attempting Helvellyn via the Edges, Striding Edge is virtually snow-free with a route that is completely free from snow. Conversely, there remains a steep bank of deep, unavoidable snow guarding Swirral Edge’s exit. This has been compacted with the passage of hundreds of boots. Although there are deep steps cut into it and it was thawing, there were patches of ice and hard snow amongst the wet snow. Thus, although it’s only for a very short section, it’s not a place to slip hence our recommendation remains that anyone tackling Swirral Edge should carry an ice axe. Owing to this snow’s height, depth and east facing nature, it may well be the last snow to thaw in the Lakes.

With the thaw the, albeit small, cornices situated above SE to E to N facing slopes have shrunk even further. However, some remain so please keep off the snow at the top of such slopes and advice those with less experience to do likewise.

Despite daffodils appearing in the valleys, the summit windchill remains well below freezing – minus 5 degrees at midday - so full winter clothing (waterproofs, plenty of warm layers, hat & gloves), footwear and equipment remain essential for anyone venturing out onto the fells.

Lake District Forecast for Friday

Mainly dry with clear or sunny spells, the best of these across more northern and eastern fells. Cloud may thicken enough over western and southern fells to give a few spots of drizzle during the morning.


Good or very good falling to just a few kilometres in any drizzle.

Hill cloud

Around 40% across southern and western at first with periods around 600m at times, otherwise 90% with little or no cloud below summit level.


Southerly around 25mph, with gusts around 45mph over ridges and summits.


  • Valley: Around plus 8 Celsius at dawn rising to plus 13 Celsius, especially away from the coast.
  • At 800m: Around plus 7 Celsius
  • Freezing level: Above the summits.

Outlook for next few days

Saturday 23 February

Dry through daylight hours with long sunny spells but increasing cloud may bring patchy evening rain. Strong southerly winds easing. Freezing levels above summits.

Sunday 24 February

Rather cloudy start with patchy rain but sunny spells developing. Mainly light southerly or southeasterly winds. Freezing level above summits.

Monday 25 February

Dry with sunny spells. Mainly light southerly winds. Freezing level above summits.

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