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Fell Top Conditions on Friday 13 December

Readings from Helvellyn summit at 13:35

Temperature minus 0.1°C Maximum wind speed 30.5mph Wind chill minus 9.1°C Average wind speed 23.8mph Wind direction WSW

Fresh snow has settled above 600m adding to existing accumulations. All the recent snow has been deposited on (often strong) S to SW to W winds, so although the snow depth rises with height, there is, as ever, a wide variety of coverage from little or nothing on windswept areas (such as large parts of the summit plateau) to drifts of up to 50cm on east and north facing slopes above 900m, although such depth is exceptional. The snowpack is soft and wet. With a summit temperature of zero, there was a daytime thaw at virtually all levels bar the highest peaks; this was especially rapid below 750m.

Both Striding and Swirral Edges were covered in soft, wet snow with a bank of steep, deep unavoidable snow guarding Swirral’s exit. An ice axe is essential for anyone attempting such exposed routes above the snowline and crampons should be carried in case the snow freezes.

The rocks on the summit plateau were again covered in ice. Should the freezing level drop, walkers out on Saturday should be prepared to encounter ice at lower levels as well.

Small cornices are forming over N and E facing slopes, so please advise those with less experience to keep well clear of such edges.

With the summit windchill well below freezing, full winter clothing (waterproofs, warm layers, hat & gloves), footwear and equipment are all essential for anyone venturing out onto the fells. Given the intermittent hail today, goggles are also highly recommended. As ground features disappear under the snow, a map and compass and the ability to use them in poor visibility are also essential.

Climbers – unfortunately the snow is currently soft and wet so damage will be done to fragile upland environments should any climbs be attempted in their current condition.

Lake District Forecast for Sunday

A build of lying snow overnight, then a rather cold, cloudy and windy day, but snow turning lighter buy dawn and gradually clearing away eastwards. Some cloud breaks in the afternoon will bring sunny spells. Cold and frosty after dark but cloud increasing in evening to bring showery outbreaks of rain and hilltop snow later.


Very limited in early snow and extensive cloud, but better visibility by the afternoon with some good views over the snow covered landscape.

Hill cloud

10% first thing, improving 80% by early afternoon.


Westerly then southerly 50mph early and late, with an intervening lull.


  • Valley: Minus 2 becoming plus 4 Celsius.
  • At 800m: Minus 3 Celsius becoming zero.
  • Freezing level: 40m rising to 600m.

Outlook for next few days

Monday 16 December

Bright spells and showers, with snow down to 600m. Strong southwesterly winds easing later. Freezing level around 700m.

Tuesday 17 December

Chance of early mist and fog at low levels and still perhaps the odd shower, but mainly dry with spells of hazy sunshine. Freezing fog forming in the dales in evening with light westerly winds. Freezing level still around 700m

Wednesday 18 December

Freezing fog slowly clearing, then dry and bright with some sunshine, but cloud gradually increasing form south. Light westerly winds but strong or gale force southeasterly winds developing over the tops in the evening. Freezing level rising above the summits

An overview of 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!

Make the most of the summer on a guided walk or navigation course


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.

Enjoy the fells safely on a winter skills course