A Lake District fell top assessor who has completed over 750 summits of Helvellyn has retired after 16 years of service. 

Jon Bennett, who has held the unique role since December 2008, officially retired on Thursday, March 28, 2024 after climbing the Lake District mountain 778 times professionally.

The fell top assessors are a group of mountaineering experts who summit Helvellyn every single day between December and April, including Christmas day,  to provide boots-on-the-ground safety condition and weather reports.

The assessors scale Helvellyn due to its popularity among the fell walking community and its large east-facing headwall that retains snow and ice which helps give them a good indication of conditions. 

Jon has experienced a multitude of varying conditions on the mountain and shared how throughout his career he never got tired of scaling the same Lake District titan. 

"People often ask if I get bored of ascending the same fell, but the changing weather conditions, light, underboot conditions, and fellow walkers one meets make each ascent unique," He said.

"The most memorable was when a Brockenspectre accompanied me the whole way along Striding Edge. A truly magical experience.

"I have found myself questioning if I really want to give up this special and unique job but this year, two things have changed for me.

"Firstly, the number of days of driving, horizontal hail, or rain, and secondly, the hill is beginning to get steeper

"Although I am retiring from the Assessor role, I certainly have absolutely no intention whatsoever in hanging up my boots just yet."

After Jon's retirement, Lake District National Park Authority colleague and Mountain Rescue Team member Kath Jackson was also on hand to wish the departing fell top assessor all the best. 

She said: "Thank you to Jon for all his hard work over the past 16 years.

"As a Mountain Rescue Volunteer, I know that the Lake District Rescue Teams really appreciate the contribution that the Fell Top Assessor team make, helping people to plan for safe winter adventures."