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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 December, 2004, 06:12 GMT
Weathermen heading for the hills
Nick Chetwood and Pete Collins
Pete Collins, right, with retiring weather watcher Nick Chetwood
A winter weather service which measures conditions on the Cumbrian fell tops starts on Thursday.

Lake District National Park Authority fell top assessors climb Helvellyn daily during winter to check conditions at 3,114ft (nearly 950m).

The information is used on a telephone line contacted by 200,000 people a year in the Lakes. The authority said it is a "life-saving" service.

Pete Collins and newly-appointed Liam Scott will take up the posts.

The assessors work on a week-on, week-off basis between December and April, including Christmas Day.

I think if you love being in the mountains and enjoy being on them in bad weather, it's an ideal job
Fell top assessor Pete Collins

They record details of wind speed, temperature, snow and ice on Helvellyn's summit and the information is then fed to telephone information service Weatherline.

The assessors are required to carry 40lb (18kg) of equipment and are expected to make the ascent in two hours.

Pete Collins, 36, is about to start his third season as one of the fell top assessors. A mountaineer of about 25 years' experience, he also works as a freelance outdoor pursuits instructor and is a member of Patterdale Mountain Rescue team.

He said: "I love being out in the hills and mountains. I believe in the service and its role in improving safety in the mountains.

"I think if you love being in the mountains and enjoy being on them in bad weather, it's an ideal job."

Search for peak climb forecaster
08 Nov 04 |  Cumbria
Fell walkers urged to take care
03 Nov 03 |  Cumbria

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