Winter in the Lake District is a magical time!

Let’s face it – we all remember that pure joy as a child, when you opened your curtains on a winter morning to see the year’s first snow had appeared overnight…So why should the kids have all the fun?? As a winter walker and mountaineer you can enjoy that same buzz of excitement and delight every year!

At this time of year even the minor summits of the Lake District can take on an Alpine appearance and character, and as the rewards for being in that environment multiply, so do the challenges they present. Specific skills, knowledge, and equipment, in addition to those required in the summer months, are all essential to travel safely in the mountains at this time of year.

Lake District Winter Skills FAQ

Who will be our course guides and instructors?
All winter courses will be led by either Aled Butler of Abmountains, or a trusted, hand picked, qualified and experienced associate.
Aled has worked in the outdoor industry for over 20 years and has a wealth of experience. He has worked with groups from all walks of life, worked with the military, as a Head of Centre for Lancashire County Council, and as part of LCC’s Educational Visits approval team.
Aled is a member of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors.
As well as numerous other qualifications, Aled holds the Winter Mountain Leader award, the benchmark qualification for leading winter walking groups in the UK, which requires the candidate to build up a wealth of winter experience in all conditions, over many years, before undertaking a 5 day assessment by some of the UK’s leading Mountaineering Instructors.

When appropriate, Aled will use an associate instructor to lead your course. In this case your instructor / guide will be handpicked by Aled for their experience, professionalism and qualifications. All our handpicked winter guides and instructors hold the MIC award – the highest level of award available for leading winter mountaineering in the UK, and are also members of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors. All our guides and instructors hold valid relevant first aid qualifications, and undergo regular Continued Professional Development training.

When are the Winter courses run?

To run successful winter courses, we will obviously need winter conditions! Although the Lake District weather can be fickle, our most reliable indicator in the long term is the previous few years’ weather. The good news is that for the last few seasons, since at least 2010, we have had excellent winter conditions in the Lakes, usually beginning in December and lasting through to late March and even into April. In 2014 / 2015 the Lake District Ski Club reported more snow than any one could remember in at least 40 years, and the National Park Weatherline archives give an excellent record of conditions between December and April.

Our winter skills courses run initially from January – February. As the season progresses we hope to carry on running winter courses and guided winter walking into March and even April if conditions allow.

Where will we go?
Flexibility is absolutely key when planning a day out in the mountains in winter! The prevailing conditions on the day will play a huge part in our decision on where to go so we may have to do some driving. Luckily the Lake District is quite compact and we can usually find appropriate conditions within a short drive. The central fells, Helvellyn, and Brown Cove crags are all reliable winter venues, as well as many more.

What kind of equipment will I need?
As well as your usual summer mountain equipment you will also require an ice axe and pair of crampons. If you have your own it makes sense to use these, if not we can hire you a set for a small cost. Please contact us for details.

A more detailed kit list will be sent out when you make a booking, and we are always keen to talk to you if you have any questions at all.

What happens if conditions are poor?
In recent years, winter in the Lake District has been very reliable. However, the weather can sometimes let us down. If this is the case, then we have a number of options:

  • We do something else – the mountains rarely let us down, and if winter conditions are poor, we can almost always find something else to do – mountain skills, scrambling, navigating… there are endless possibilities.
  • We re-schedule – quite simply, you re-book for another time – be it next week or next year!
  • We can offer you a full refund.

As a small business however we thoroughly believe that the best way to deal with any situation of this nature is to simply chat with you about it and between us come up with a solution that keeps everyone happy!

Winter Walking and Winter Mountaineering Skills in the Lake District

Tel: 07824440395

Contact us

Guided Mountain, Hill and Fell walking, and mountain skills training courses in the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales

Navigating in Winter (Map Reading)

The ability to navigate well is arguably the single most important skill for safe travel in the mountains, whatever time of year. During the winter months however the challenges of navigating effectively are multiplied, as are the consequences of getting it wrong. Short days mean an increased chance of being out after dark, snow cover can obliterate features on the ground, strong winds and bulky gloves can make handling the map difficult.

On an Abmountains Winter Navigation course you will build on your existing experience with map and compass and develop and practice new skills that will help you become more self-sufficient in the mountains in winter. 

  • Avalanche awareness
  • Efficient use of the map and compass
  • Interpreting contours
  • Micro navigation in zero visibility
  • Taking and walking on a bearing​

Cost: £140 per guide (max 6 clients per guide)

For more details, scroll down to: Lake District Winter Skills FAQ

Guided Winter Walking in The Lake District

Focusing on the pure joy of being out in the mountains in winter!

Our guided winter mountain walks are suitable for all levels of experience. The main aim of our guided winter walking days is to experience the magic and beauty of being in the mountains in winter, and to ensure you have an incredible day out in this amazing environment.

Additionally, your guide will help you understand the extra challenges we face this time of year, and will introduce and help you develop your winter skills.


Cost:  £140.00 per guide (max 6 clients per guide)

For more details, scroll down to: Lake District Winter Skills FAQ