Watch out for the little blighters

May 2, 2011

I was walking in the Lake District the other day, round the back of Ullswater, when Mist, my young border collie collected her first sheep tick. I had always thought ticks were a peculiarly Scottish phenomena (along with those delightful holiday destroyers, the midge) but they are not. My old dog, Bracken, seemed to collect them with great regularity when in Scotland, usually round the shoulders or the eyes, but a quick twist (anti clockwise) and out they came. Basically they are blood suckers and if left become bigger and more bloated as they suck blood from whichever beast they are attached to, there is a temptation to leave them a little while as they are easier to remove as the blood input grows! However I was unaware that they are able to attach themselves to humans and in rare cases (or/and left untreated) they become infected and cause Lymes Disease – a very unpleasant affliction not dissimilar to flu but with more sinister long term effects if untreated.

Any walker may come in contact with them – they tend to lie near livestock and in higher grasses, heather and bracken – personally I have never taken any precautions but may well keep a closer check on myself after a walk in the future and will certainly buy some ‘Frontline’ for the dog. Just one to keep an eye out for really, as with all things knowing about it is 90% of the battle. Click here for some local newspaper coverage and more information on the sheep ticks (includes a photo of one) but Googling ‘sheep ticks’ will also give you all the details you need to know.


In the past year I have completed 90 walks in the Yorkshire Dales and over 70 in the Lake District (this will be up to 90 by the end of June). Click on the links to see where they all are on a map of each of the two areas. Each individual walk I have done within the last 12 months includes a map, a selection of photography and my thoughts on the walk, where to start, where to drink and why I have included it at all. I am keen to include 100 walks in both the Lakes and the Dales so come the end of May I am after suggestions for those I have missed out! The selection is already pretty comprehensive but by then I reckon there will be a great choice for everyone.

Previous Posts:

Map Reading Skills on the decline. Impact of new technology on traditional navigation.

Hidden Yorkshire Dales. The joys of walking in my favourite lesser known dales.

Walking with Children. Some tips and my favourite child friendly walks

Multi Day Walks. A few tips to get the most out of them

Footpath erosion. The potential impact of government cuts

Mountain Rescue Teams. The best ways to help them

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