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All I want for Christmas is… a weather forecast from Helvellyn

Posted 17 December 2012
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All I want for Christmas is… a weather forecast from Helvellyn
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There will be many strange Christmas presents handed out this year, with odd jumpers, tasteless mugs and curious items of jewellery, alongside all the finer presents on the top of wish lists.

For those who are part of the walking fraternity, something to help with the outdoor endeavours of the months ahead, such as thermal clothes or walking socks might cause much delight when they are unwrapped.

However, the Lake District National Park Authority and others have been plugging an unusual gift people can give - sponsorship for the Lake District Weatherline felltop assessors.

The role played by the two meterological employees is vital as their role is not so much to ape Michael Fish while stood in a warm studio, but to put on walking boots and waterproofs and head for the summit of Helvellyn.

At this time of year, such a forecast may be vital in helping those heading up the fells to prepare for the day ahead. Judging how to deal with wind, rain, snow, ice and cold temperatures will inevitably be easier if walkers are equipped for such eventualities and prior warning can help people do just that.

By climbing the 3,000 ft mountain, the assessors can advise on issues like the temperatures at various altitudes, the freezing level, wind speed and the chance of cloud-free tops. While this may help people get ready for winter conditions over the next few months, in summer it could help pinpoint the days on which to take the camera, extra suncream or another layer.

None of this comes for free and the national park authority;'s scheme enables people to 'buy' a felltop assessor for a day for £25, while a corporate package for £50 is also available.

This kind of present may indeed be the gift that keeps giving, not least for those who love to climb Helvellyn.

While the 3,117 ft peak is a target in itself because of its heights and its famous ridges of Striding Edge and Swirral Edge are favourites with scramblers, others may enjoy the Wainwright-bagging opportunities that the whole Helvellyn Range offers.

With peaks like Whiteside, Raise, Catsycam and Dollywaggon Pike to enjoy, those heading for the felltops can be particularly pleased that there is always an on-the-spot forecast to make good use of.ADNFCR-2803-ID-801507693-ADNFCR