Online punters offered chance to join Helvellyn experts on life-saving mission

Lake District fell top assessor Jon Bennett on Helvellyn’s summit with last year’s eBay winner Peter Sharratt.

Lake District fell top assessor Jon Bennett on Helvellyn’s summit with last year’s eBay winner Peter Sharratt.

First published in News

ONLINE punters are being offered an exclusive expedition joining Lake District mountain men on a life-saving mission.

One of the country’s most bizarre jobs is being thrown open to the online auction site eBay.

Nine ‘buy it now’ bidders can clinch an exceptional Helvellyn experience on the 950 metre peak to record weather conditions as a fell top assessor for the day.

With a £90 price tag, rookie assistants will pay to join the team and record conditions for 40 year-old Weatherline.

The phone and web service provides vital information from the hilltops, reporting changes that can be can be rapid and fatal.

While nine buyers will make the ascent together, the pièce de résistance is a one-off prize for an individual to join one of the two assessors for an extra special foray.

Lake District National park’s head of visitor services Adam Thomas said using eBay to promote Weatherline, and bring in some crucial funding, was designed to get people talking and thinking.

He explained: “This is a rare opportunity to scale our third highest peak with an expert and see first-hand what our assessors face as they gather information that so many people depend on.

“Their seven-day Helvellyn shifts are equivalent to reaching Everest’s summit. They face hugely challenging elements ranging from driving winds, snow drifts and wind chill temperatures plummeting to minus 16C.

“We have some of the world’s most spectacular mountains and keeping those venturing on them as safe as possible is paramount. We are constantly looking at ways of finding additional funding to safeguard the service and hope the eBay adventure will be popular.”

Last year Peter Sharratt’s eBay bid bought him more than he bargained when he had a fell top assessing trek in extreme weather.

The experienced walker from Harrogate encountered 70 mile an hour winds and was forced to walk at a 45 degree angle, just to stay upright, but enjoyed it so much he has just paid again for the privilege.

“It is an amazing experience and really brings it home just how important Weatherline is. It’s the only service which gives an accurate account of conditions on the ground. During the winter I follow the assessors’ reports on a daily basis.

“I’d say to anyone considering bidding, to go for it. They won’t be disappointed!”

The ‘buy it now’ option is currently running on eBay for one month and the main prize will be launched on March 10 and run for 10 days.

Weatherline is on www.lakedistrict.gov.uk. To find the auction on eBay go to www.ebay.co.uk and search for “Fell Top Assessor Experience”

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