We are currently enjoying a period of bright sunny weather and the bookings are rolling in for our self catering cottages. It has even been warm enough for tee shirts! When the sun comes out, the first this I want to do is walk up a hill to see how lovely the Lake District looks bathed in sunshine.
If I am setting off up one of the smaller fells near home like Walla Crag or Latrigg, I normally pop a hat and gloves in my pocket to tackle the chilly wind at the top. If I am out for an all day walk, then it is a different matter.
Weatherline operate an essential reporting service, issuing the a report from the fell top assessors alongside the daily Met Office forecast. The service provides you with an extensive weather forecast that can be accessed online or by calling the hotline. It is impossible to accurately predict the conditions from the valley before you get started and this is a vital service for knowing what things could be like on the summit. If it is freezing when you leave the car park, it is certainly not going to get warmer as you head up hill.
The fell top assessors have the (un)enviable task of climbing Helvellyn every day. Helvellyn was chosen for forecasting as its varied terrain and central Lakeland location was most suitable for gathering data that can be applied across the lake District. Helvellyn is an interesting mix of rocky ridges, grassy moor, sheer cliffs and slopes exposed to the elements in the east and west. The fell top assessors take it in turns to walk to the summit and measure the wind speed and direction, temperature, wind chill and snow drifts. This information is then published alongside the Met Office report for the day.
The Met Office report breaks down the chance of rain during the day, broken down into 3 hour segments. You can also find out the difference in wind speed and wind temperature from the valley to 500m and 800m. All in all, everything you need to plan your route and what you put in your backpack.
The Weatherline website features the fell top assessors top tips for safety on the fells:
1. Check out the Weatherline forecast and plan your route accordingly
2. Choose a route suitable for the conditions, your equipment and ability
3. Do not over estimate your ability. If you are unsure, lower your sights
4. Carry enough kit to look after yourself if something goes wrong or the weather changes
5. Always carry a map and compass and the knowledge of how to use them. Do not rely on a GPS alone
6. Take a spare hat and gloves. Hats and gloves can get wet and can easily blow away
7. In winter conditions take an ice axe and crampons. If you don’t have these or you don’t know how to use them, stay below the snow line
8. If in doubt, turn back. The mountains will still be there on the next sunny day.
We also have a database of Lake District walks on our website. If you are looking for inspiration then you can view an alphabetical list of walks from our Lake District cottages.