A former marine commando has bagged the job of climbing almost the height of Everest every week.
Craig Palmer, pictured right, a member of Penrith Mountain Rescue Team, will make the daily trip to the summit of the Lake District’s third highest peak to record weather conditions. He’ll need all his military mountaineering qualifications in his climb to the top of Helvellyn to report on snow and ice conditions throughout winter.
The job, one of Britain’s most unusual posts, was advertised last month as reported on grough. Craig will share the task with Pete Collins, working one week on, one week off. The reports are used on the Lake District National Park Authority’s Weatherline service, used by walkers and mountaineers venturing on to the area’s tops.
Craig has seen service in Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Norway and the Caribbean and took part in a record-breaking attempt on Kilimanjaro which succeeded in getting the highest ascent of a wheelchair user, helping a disabled mountaineer to 5,600m and narrowly missing summiting.
He said: "From becoming a Cub at the age of seven, mountains have been my home. I live and breathe them. From a very early age, it was my ambition to get paid for being in the hills.
“As a fell top assessor, I can put something back. The safety parts of the job are paramount, but I also want to help people on the mountain, sharing its history, its fauna and very special atmosphere.”
National Park ranger manager Shirley Muir said: "Our two assessors work alternate weeks and are expected to leave Glenridding, near Ullswater, and reach the summit in under two hours. We are delighted to have someone of Craig’s calibre on board.”
You can find the Weatherline details by clicking on the Links menu on the left of this page and then following the weather reports link.
New Year’s Day will be a working day for Craig, whose wife Rachel is a doctor at Carlisle hospital. He left the armed forces two years ago after being injured in Iraq.
Left: Striding Edge in winter, on the route from Glenridding to Helvellyn summit