The Lake District is set to see a spike in British holidaymakers heading to the beauty spot this summer. Yesterday, it was announced that UK holidays can return from July 4. However, visitors heading to the Cumbria destination have been issued a warning in the latest Lake District travel advice.
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A deadly type of algae that can make humans very ill and even kill animals have been spotted.
Blue-Green algae – or cyanobacteria – have been found in the Lake District, Environment Agency (EA) staff have reported.
The algae are said to have infected the Windermere, Derwentwater, Ullswater and Coniston Water lakes – all tourist hotspots.
Their appearance follows the spate of warm weather in the UK.
If humans and animals come into contact with them, the consequences could be very unpleasant indeed.
The Lake District National park website explains: “Bloom and scum forming blue-green algae can produce toxins.
“These toxins can kill wild animals, farm livestock and domestic pets.
“Farmers and pet owners should keep their animals away from affected waters.”
The site continued: “In humans, they can cause rashes after skin contact and illnesses if swallowed.
“Illnesses including skin rashes, eye irritation, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and muscle and joint pain have occurred in people who’ve swallowed or swam through algal scum.
“These haven’t led to long-term effects or death but, in some cases, the illnesses can be severe.”
Steve Gaskell, park management leader for the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) said: “The EA has received reports of possible blue-green algae in both Windermere and Coniston recently.”
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He added: “Relevant lakeshore landowners have been advised by the agency to put up signs to warn of this possibility.
“We advise if you come into contact with the water, wash in clean water. And if you feel ill, contact your doctor or nearest hospital.
“It can be fatal for pets and we would advise pets are kept away from the water.”
In fresh water, blue-green algae can be found suspended within the water or attached to rocks and other surfaces.
“You usually can see them when they’re concentrated into clumps,” explains the Lake District National Park site. “These clumps can look like green flakes, greenish bundles or brownish dots.
“Blooms can have a negative effect on the appearance, quality and use of the water.
“It may become green, blue-green or greenish-brown and several species can produce musty, earthy or grassy odours. Blooms can also cause foaming on the shoreline – sometimes confused with sewage pollution.”
If you spot the algae call the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60 to report your sighting. Do not enter, drink or swallow the water and keep children and pets away from the water.
According to Rest Easy Group – the parent company of online holiday rental marketplaces – Cumbria is the fourth most popular British staycation destination for 2020/21.
Cornwall and Devon are the most popular destinations, with increasing year on year interest in Somerset and Dorset, while the average booking cost across the UK is £947 (a 46 percent increase on the same date last year).
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