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Algae returns to Cumbrian beauty spot

Visitors to a Cumbrian beauty spot have been warned to stay out of the water after a bloom of blue-green algae.

Tarn algae photo
Algae in Talkin Tarn in 2004

The rootless plants have been found in large numbers in Talkin Tarn, near Brampton.

When found in these quantities, they can cause severe illnesses in humans and actually kill animals.

“I’d like to stress that Talkin Tarn Country Park is still open for business, although we’ve had to restrict access to the tarn itself,” said Angela Culleton, director of local environment at Carlisle City Council, which runs the country park.

“During the summer months the algae is likely to bloom and we want to make sure that visitors are aware of the issue.

“Algae can come and go very quickly so we advise visitors to check the noticeboards each time they come for the current status.”

The council installed a system to circulate air through the tarn, which was designed to help reduce algae numbers, back in 2007.

However, Ms Culleton pointed out that the plants appear naturally and will always be present.

An algae bloom is a growth period which lasts for an unusually long time.

For this to happen, they need certain conditions, such as the right combination of light, temperature and water flow.

The toxins produced by the plants in this situation are toxic and potentially fatal to animals.

So dog owners have been advised to keep their pets away from the tarn.

Humans can also suffer if they swallow or swim in the water while the algae is in bloom.

Illnesses including skin rashes, nausea, fever and muscle and joint pain are among those suffered by people who have done this. These have not led to long-term problems but sytmptoms have been described as “severe” by the Environment Agency.

A watersports day, due to be held at the tarn on Sunday, June 17, has been cancelled.

The water is being monitored daily by the council and updates will be posted around the park and at

Have your say

is there not some sort of fish or snail that can be bred and put in to feed on it

Posted by andy cap on 30 May 2012 at 22:06

it seems pretty strange that we never seem to hear of this in any other of cumbria's many lakes & tarns , do we just not hear about it or does something happen at talking tarn that does'nt happen anywhere else ? no conspiracy theory here , i,m only asking.

Posted by petethegreet on 29 May 2012 at 14:46

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