Lake District Winter Conditions Monitoring

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 Rob Dyer, BMC 11 Dec 2020

Some good and some bad news for the winter conditions monitoring systems in the Lake District. On the positive side, the Great End site is now back up and running, but the bad news is that we haven’t been able to fix the Helvellyn system. For those interested in more detail about what is going wrong, read on, if not the summary is that we aim to keep Great End working, but it’s very likely that Helvellyn will remain off line this winter.

As many keen Lakes winter climbers will be aware, we have suffered from reliability issues with the two monitoring sites at Great End and on Helvellyn in recent years, meaning that they have both been out of action since last winter. Whilst the sensors and the data they give has been accurate, the transmission of the data has not been working which means the data cant be uploaded to the web. This week, we’ve managed to get the much simpler Great End system back online. This operates by using a transmitter at the sensor site on Great End, which ‘talks’ directly with a receiver at the upload site at Seathwaite.

The Helvellyn system on the other hand is more complex as it relies on a ‘repeater’ station between the sensor and upload location to bounce the data on, as the topography and distance doesn’t allow a direct signal transmission. Unfortunately, due to this added complexity, we have been unable to get the system back online reliably. We are however investigating alternative and more reliable equipment we may be able to use instead. We are hoping to test this out in the coming months to see if it will work, and if results are positive, replace the existing system as soon as we can, but this may not happen until the spring.

In the meantime beyond the various mountain weather forecasts available, the Great End sensors give a good general indication of winter conditions, the Lake District White Guide ( provides useful advice on where to consider in various types of weather and the Fell Top Assessors ( give a good update on ground conditions every day throughout winter for anyone planning a winter climbing visit.

 Route Adjuster 11 Dec 2020
In reply to Rob Dyer, BMC:

Thanks, good to know a bit about what's going on with these.

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