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Walking Help

Make sure you are fully prepared when you are going out walking for a gentle stroll or a challenging walk up Helvellyn. This page has all the information you need and key contacts to make sure you are fully prepared.

Before you set off

Check the weather forecast and conditions

Weather conditions on the fell tops can change very quickly so it pays to go well prepared when walking on them. Check the weather forecast and conditions before you set off. Consider the time of year and terrain and choose your route accordingly.

  • Visit the Met Office website for a 5 day forecast
  • Call the Lake District National Park's Weatherline service on 0844 846 2444

Charge your mobile phone before you set off
Many accidents occur towards the end of the day when both you and your phone are low on energy.  You can also check your mobile phone reception coverage before your trip on the fells.

Leave your route plan

It's a good idea to leave details of your route at wherever you are staying or with friends. Include start and finish points, when you expect to return and your contact details.

The Mountain Rescue website also gives advice for fell and mountain users on how to stay safe on the fells.

Prepare yourself for the walk

Wear suitable clothing and footwear
Make sure you are wearing the correct walking boots with adequate tread and support.  Wear warm, waterproof and windproof clothing - layers work best.  Always carry a spare set of clothes, gloves and hat - even in Summer.

If you are in doubt what to wear, seek advice from an Outdoor Shop

Take food and drink with you
Take plenty of food and drink. High energy food such as chocolate and dried fruit are ideal or hi-energy bars can be bought from Outdoor Shops.

Essential Kit to take

  • Map and Compass
  • A mobile phone - fully charged. But don't rely on your mobile as in many areas of the mountains there is no signal 
  • Whistle - the signal for rescue is: Six good long blasts in a minute. Stop for one minute. Repeat.
    Carry on the whistle blasts until someone reaches you and don't stop because you've heard a reply - rescuers may be using your blasts as a direction finder.
  • Torch - with spare batteries and bulbs
  • Watch - make sure at least one person in your group has one
  • In Winter conditions take an ice-axe and crampons and be sure you know how to use them; as well as a survival bag and spare clothes

Safety on the Fells

Keep an eye on the weather
If conditions deteriorate be prepared to turn back.

Keep an eye on the rest of your party
If you are walking with a group, keep together and allow the slowest member to set the pace.  Take care of the youngest and weakest members of the group when walking in dangerous places.

Watch out for signs of hypothermia
The weather can change quickly and children and older people are especially susceptible to hypothermia.  Look out for signs of shivering, disorientation, tiredness and loss of circulation in toes and hands.

If you are walking alone
Be particularly aware of additional risks and let people know your planned route and stick to it as far as you can.

The Mountain Rescue website also gives advice for fell and mountain users on how to stay safe on the fells.

Lake District Mountain Rescue

We're fortunate to have mountain rescue teams based at Kirkby Stephen, Patterdale and Penrith, please make a donation to their voluntary work whenever you can.

For more information on the Lake District Mountain Rescue and to make a donation visit their website.

Follow the Countryside Code

Help us all to respect, protect and enjoy our countryside by following the Countryside Code when you are out walking:

  • Be safe, plan ahead and follow any signs
  • Leave gates and property as you find them
  • Protect plants and animals and take your litter home
  • Keep dogs under close control
  • Consider other people

Find out more from the Natural England website.


Look after the Fells

There are 12 million pairs of feet walking the Lake District paths every year, when out walking please:

  • Be aware that every single footstep causes wear and tear to the environment.  Slow-growing plants which survive on mountains are particularly vulnerable to trampling 
  • Keep to the path, don't walk along the vegetation along the edge of the path
  • Don't build or add to cairns - paths need stones more than cairns
  • Don't take shortcuts - water will soon follow your tracks and an erosion scar will develop. The eroded material may wash into local streams and lakes and cause further problems 

You can find out more about the work being done by Fix the Fells to protect on their website.