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The Lake District's position on the north west coast of England, togethor with its mountainous geography, makes it the dampest part of England. The UK Met Office reports average annual precipitation of more than 2,000 millimetres (80 in), but with very large local variation. Although the entire region receives above average rainfall, there is a wide disparity between the amount of rainfall in the western and eastern lakes. Lake District has relief rainfall. Seathwaite in Borrowdale is the wettest inhabited place in the British Isles with an average of 3,300 millimetres (130 in) of rain a year, while nearby Sprinkling Tarn is even wetter, recording over 5,000 millimetres (200 in) per year; by contrast, Keswick, at the end of Borrowdale receives 1,470 millimetres (60 in) per year, and Penrith (just outside the Lake District) only 870 millimetres (30 in). March to June tend to be the driest months, with October to January the wettest, but at low levels there is relatively little difference between months.
The Lake District is also windy, although sheltered valleys experience gales on an average of five days a year. In contrast, the coastal areas have 20 days of gales; while the fell tops may have 100 days of gales per year.
The maritime climate means that the Lake District experiences relatively moderate temperature variations through the year. Mean temperature in the valleys ranges from about 3 °C (37 °F) in January to around 15 °C (59 °F) in July. (By comparison, Moscow, at the same latitude, ranges from -10 °C to 19 °C/14°F to 66°F).
The relatively low height of most of the fells means that, while snow is expected during the winter, they can be free of snow at any time of the year. Normally, significant snow fall only occurs between November and April. On average, snow falls on Helvellyn 67 days per year. During the year, valleys typically experience 20 days with snow falling, a further 200 wet days, and 145 dry days.
Hill fog is common at any time of year, and the fells average only around 2.5 hours of sunshine per day, increasing to around 4.1 hours per day on the coastal plains.
The area is home to a plethora of wildlife, some of which is unique in England. It provides a home for the red squirrel and colonies of sundew, one of the few carnivorous plants native to Britain. England's only nesting pair of Golden Eagles can be found in the Lake District. Sadly the female Golden Eagle has not been seen since 2004 although the male still remains.
The lakes of the Lake District support three rare and endangered species of fish: the vendace, which can be found only in Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwent Water, the schelly, which lives in Brothers Water, Haweswater, Red Tarn and Ullswater, and the arctic charr, which can be found in Buttermere, Coniston Water, Crummock Water, Ennerdale Water, Haweswater, Loweswater, Thirlmere, Wast water, and Windermere.
In recent years, some important changes have been made to fisheries byelaws covering the north-west region of England, to help protect some of the rarest fish species. The Environment Agency has introduced a new fisheries byelaw, banning the use of all freshwater fish as live bait or as dead bait in 14 of the lakes in the Lake District.