The Lake District's felltop assessors Jon Bennett, left, and Graham Uney

The Lake District's felltop assessors Jon Bennett, left, and Graham Uney

The Lake District’s two felltop assessors will resume work next week, as they take it in turns to make the journey to the summit of England’s third highest mountain.

Graham Uney returns to the job for a second season, joining veteran assessor Jon Bennett, who will be in his ninth year.

Each man works alternative shifts in which they make the ascent of Helvellyn, braving whatever the weather throws at them, to provide real-time reports on temperature, snow depth, wind speed, underfoot conditions and potential risks, including possible avalanches.

From December to Easter, the two men provide information for walkers, climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts by climbing the 950m (3,117ft) fell for the Lake District National Park Authority’s Weatherline service. They brave rain, snow and windchill as severe as -16C.

This season, Graham Uney will also run a one-day winter skills course for walkers, to teach the basics of using an ice-axe and crampons.

He said: “Taking a walk in the mountains during winter is a magical experience, but once temperatures drop and ice and snow become an unknown factor, it’s important more than ever to make sure you are fully prepared before heading out to the hills.

“The Weatherline reports play a vital part in that preparation and the addition of the new winter skills course will give keen winter walkers the chance to learn how to use the right equipment and stay safe.”

Although Helvellyn is not the highest peak in the Lakes, it was selected for the assessors as it is the most popular fell and has a large east-facing headwall that retains snow and ice. The assessors’ reports are combined with Met Office mountain forecasts to give the fullest picture.

The reports can be seen online on the Lake District Weatherline site.

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