The Helm Wind

The Helm Wind is notorious for its sudden descent from the Fells and its violent gusts. It is the only named wind in the UK (so our region is on par with where the Mistral blows, but without the sun!) There are many apocryphal stories concerning its ability to hurl livestock and machinery and indeed it can be a destructive force. The Helm forms when a roughly north-easterly wind gathers on the gentler slopes of the Pennines towards Teesdale. If there is a temperature inversion on the Cross Fell range of hills, this causes an acceleration of the wind down the steeper Pennine escarpments on the Dufton side. A dense cloud forms above Cross Fell and its neighbouring Fells. The area swept by the wind is usually under a clear sky. A revolving cloud known as the Helm Bar forms within a few miles of the Pennine edges. At this point, there is a dramatic cessation of the violent winds and even sometimes gentler winds coming from a westerly direction.

For an amusing song about the Helm Wind, please click here, which takes you to a YouTube performance by Hereldeduke.