Fell-top assessor Jon Bennett tests weather conditions on Helvellyn

Fell-top assessor Jon Bennett tests weather conditions on Helvellyn

As jobs go, it has to be one the country’s most bizarre.

Each week’s work involves ascending almost the height of Everest, and braving snow, rain and temperatures as low as –16C.

The reward is, depending on weather, the view from England’s third-highest mountain, and the knowledge you’re helping the 15 million Lake District residents and visitors who rely on your observations.

The national park authority is on the lookout for a suitable candidate for the job of winter fell-top assessor.

The man or woman who gets the job will be the ‘running mate’ of Jon Bennett, who has held the post for eight years. The two assessors work one week on, one week off, from December to Easter, to provide real-life reports of weather and conditions underfoot on the 950m (3,117ft) Helvellyn.

The observations are used to provide information for the Lake District Weatherline, which gives vital information for outdoor enthusiasts heading for the hills.

Mr Bennett, who for the past few years has been partnered in the job by Jason Taylor, said the service is vital in winter months to check conditions underfoot and assess risks, including potential avalanches, and that their daily reports were a lifeline.

Winter mountaineering and weather buff, Jon, of Ambleside, says it is his dream job, He added: “It’s awesome being the eyes and ears of Helvellyn.”

The job entails the ascent in winter of Helvellyn, seen here with Catstye Cam

The job entails the ascent in winter of Helvellyn, seen here with Catstye Cam

Applications are now sought from those with considerable winter experience on the fell tops and preferably a mountaineering qualification.

Tens of thousands use Weatherline and when it was threatened with closure three years ago, a number of sponsors came to the rescue. Money-making ventures include offering a day with the assessors on eBay.

Head of Lake District national park commercial services Liz Moss said the service was almost beyond value.

She said: “We have some of the world’s most spectacular mountains and keeping those venturing on them as safe as possible is paramount.

“Our communities and farmers also make good use of Weatherline. Assessors’ reports are combined with Met Office mountain forecasts to give the fullest possible picture.

“We get incredible feedback from grateful users, especially those looking for a great days out in breathtakingly beautiful places.”

More information and details of how to apply are on the Lake District National Park Authority website.

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