Fell Top Conditions on Tuesday 24 January

Readings from Helvellyn summit at 11:35

Temperature plus 1.9°C Maximum wind speed 60.1mph Wind chill minus 9.9°C Average wind speed 34.7mph Wind direction SSW

A day of low cloud, occasional drizzle, and blustery conditions on the high fells. With slightly warmer temperatures today most of the ice that covered paths and rocks on the fells yesterday has disappeared. On Helvellyn ice was still present in places above 650m, but was thawing. The small patches of old snow above 700m however remain hard, but these do not hinder progress on any of the walking routes on the mountain, and can be easily avoided. The warmer conditions produced some drizzle, even at altitude, although sleet fell for a short time on the Helvellyn summit plateau.

The cloud base today varied between 400m and 750m, giving dense hill fog above those heights. This made for challenging walking and difficult navigation, even on the paths. The main difficulty for walkers today was the gale force winds, which ranged from between 30mph and 45mph generally, but gave the occasional gust of over 55mph.

The strong winds look set to continue over the next few days, so a careful look at the wind direction in the forecast will help you decide whether to tackle any narrow ridges (avoiding strong crosswinds).

Anyone heading onto the fells right now should have full waterproofs, lots of warmth layers including spare hats and gloves, winter mountain boots, map and compass (and good navigation skills!), a headtorch with spare batteries, and possibly an ice axe and crampons in case the temperature should drop just a little bit more.