Three Fell Top Assessors walking to the top of Helvellyn.

Fell top advice for Lake District summer walking

Spring has sprung in the valleys, the winter snow is receding from the Lake District fells and we've come to the end of my first season as one of the Lake District National Park Fell Top Assessors. So I thought it was a good opportunity to take a look back at some of my highlights and share some top tips for exploring the fells in the spring and summer months.

I enjoyed my first season as a Lake District Fell Top Assessor, being able to share my days on the hill with a huge variety of people who had booked onto our Winter Skills courses was a real highlight. They brought a lot of enthusiasm whatever the conditions and went away with the skills and knowledge to safely enjoy the hills in winter.

This essential Weatherline safety service is now 30 years old so that's 3600 plus ascents in all conditions! The 2017-18 season was characterised by a series of storms from the east bringing copious amounts of snow and baltic temperatures. The maximum gust of wind recorded was nearly 82mph and with the wind chill the lowest temperatures were minus 23°C! Although the crampons and ice axe have been put away until next winter there are still a number of significant snow patches hanging on the high fells and indeed the last remaining snow patch in England is usually to be found in Brown Cove on the slopes of Helvellyn.

Summer will soon arrive before we know it! I'll be back on Helvellyn regularly and the other magnificent Lake District fells, working as a mountain instructor, fell running and rock climbing. The hills will be busy but you should still go prepared. The vast majority of incidents on our fells begin with an element of poor navigation which is then compounded by a number of other factors - exhaustion, stress, rushing, poor decision making, darkness.

My checklist for when exploring the fells

  • Paper Map
  • Compass
  • Small first aid kit
  • Survival bag
  • Torch
  • Whistle
  • Gloves and hat
  • Spare warm clothes
  • Plenty of water and food
  • Fully charged mobile phone

It's also worth registering your mobile phone with the 999 text service for raising the alarm when mobile coverage is poor.

Enjoy the Lake District hills, make good decisions, practise your navigation and #summitsafely.

See you next winter!

Zac Poulton on his Fell Top Assessing service

By: Zac Poulton, Fell Top Assessor for Lake District National Park
Date: 18 Apr 2018