Sunday, 26 April 2015

Day 174 - The Mysterious Lake Gormire and a Creepy Resident - Leeches!!

Hey everyone, well today is day 174 and I have been to a fabulous part of the North York Moors today. I've posted before about the views from Sutton Bank, well if you look one way from the top you can see a Lake. I've walked down to it before with Dad from Sutton Bank and its a great walk but very steep. Did it today a different way with Mum and Dad but came from the village of Thirlby and it was a lovely gentle ramble through Garbutt woods to reach it.

Looking out over Lake Gormire
The lake is fabulous and mysterious, a lovely place to take in nature. It is one of only a very few natural lakes in the UK formed from melting glaciers. It's mysterious as there are no streams going in or out of it to keep it topped up. Some people think it must be fed by a spring some where in its depths and drains through the limestone.

There's lots of local folklore about it too. There's supposed to be a lost village in it, others say its bottomless. A goose was meant to have dived in the lake and wasn't seen again for 12 days until it popped up featherless in a well in a village 12 miles away.

I did make an interesting discovery there though. In the shallow water at the edge of the lake were a couple of Leeches!

I usually do facts in my posts so here are a few about Leeches:

Leeches (Hirudinea)
  • They are a segmented worm and like the earthworm are hermaphrodites.
  • As you probably know, leeches suck blood. They were once believed to get rid of a disease/illness that someone had, this was a long time ago and doesn't work. Amazingly they do still have a place in modern medicine - see the links below.
  • Leeches are very hungry creatures and they love as much food (blood) as they can get. The way they do this is by releasing an anti-coagulant which stops the blood from getting clotted.
  • Another clever thing that is built into them is that they are attracted to warm bodies which they can detect and hone in on. Kind of like heat-seeking missiles.
  • A way that they can catch their victims is by climbing trees and then dropping down on to them when you pass underneath them.
  • When they are in a hurry, some leeches are capable of fast movement by doing a sort of cartwheeling somersault. This can be rather distracting when they are doing it after you.
  • There's a lot of folklore about leeches which is quite interesting. I read one and have linked it here. It is Indonesian Folklore and it only has a small reference to leeches right at the end.
If you encounter a Blood Sucking Leech
    Attached to a stick, you can see its segments in this shot
  • Firstly you need to know if you have one on you. Leech bites are almost painless which means it's hard to know if there is one on you.
  • There are several ways of doing this. They are most likely found in your shoes as they are mostly a ground creature so one way of knowing is if you hear a 'squelch' in your boot. Blood of course. You can also identify one by seeing a red stain in your clothes.
    Swimming away
  • Once you have found it you'll need to get it off. There is one strict rule to this. DON'T PULL IT OFF! This will make them regurgitate their digestive juices and any parasites in there will go into your body, that's a bad idea!
  • Some ways of getting them off are using  something such as a lighted cigarette to get it off as well as using salt which makes them shrivel up, die and drop off. You can  use alcohol to get it off as well.

Here are a few links to some more information:

Interesting little critters! Hope you enjoyed,



  1. Flesh. Crawls. And remembers the movie "Stand by Me"

    1. Not seen that one Simon, guess it's not one for small dudes