Star Jelly Hits the Lake District
YOU READ IT HERE FIRST! Now all over the press – We broke the story on the Alien Goo and Patterdale Blob. Please click here to see the latest news and how you can solve the star jelly mystery.
It all started with my daily visit to the great Patterdale Village Store. Tom and Gillian had been out on the fells looking for stags (we’re deep into rutting season – but more on that another day). Up near Angle Tarn they had come across some glutinous jelly on the path. Whilst up on the fells, they had met Helen and Richard, from Hartsop Cottages, and Helen had done some research on the web and found out that it was called “star jelly”. According to good old wikipedia it is a “gelatinous substance, which, according to folklore, is deposited on the earth during meteor showers“. Blimey I thought – meteor showers over Ullswater, astral deposits, this has to be worth a look.
So that evening Morgan and I set off up to Boredale Hause to find some Stags and some star jelly. Obviously being mid October we set off in a downpour and as we got higher the wind got ever more entertaining. As we neared Boredale we veered off up the “short cut” path and sure enough there floating on a puddle was some “caca de luna” (Tom and I agree the Mexicans have the best name for it…).
I have to admit my “samples” were fairly meagre compared to the ones seen near Angle Tarn, which were apparently as big as your foot, but they were still intriguing.
By all account this phenomenon had been found on the hills of Scotland back in 2009, and the BBC had done some investigations, but no conclusive answers had been found (BBC Archive). Again according to wikipedia “explanations have ranged from the material being the remains of frogs and toads, or of worms, to the byproducts of cyanobacteria, to paranormal origins“. My first thought was that it could be connected to rutting stags. I’ll let you join the dots as it were but you get the picture. However Tom pointed out that the size of deposits up near Angle Tarn would put an elephant to shame, so maybe not….
Following that logic one assumes that unless we have a plague of giant mutant frogs in the Lake District then the same is true of that theory. Personally I like the idea of meteor showers and astral deposits. Who knows. If you do then let me know!
Monday 24th October – 10:00
We seem to have generated some interest from the story. Full details to follow but “The Patterdale Blob” made it into the hallowed pages of The Sun, The Mirror, The Daily Express and the Daily Record at the weekend, with even a brief mention in the Daily Telegraph. More importantly Tom collected a sample on Friday and posted it to an expert at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh who will hopefully be able to analyse it and give us the answer as to its origins. Watch this space!
Monday 24th October – 12:00
Dr Sluiman has confirmed he has received the sample and will be examining it today. Tom did an interview with BBC Radio Cumbria as well – so stay tuned for an update 07:20 tomorrow morning!
Tuesday 25th October – 10:30
Well we’ve had our moment of fame on BBC Radio Cumbria. Tom gave a good account of himself with some eloquent phrasing and I proved once again why I have the perfect face for radio…
Anyway here it is.
Tuesday 25th October – 11:04
OK now it’s getting serious. Tom and I are meeting the BBCs Look North team soon. Now what was that I said about my face and radio….
Come on Dr Sluiman it’s time you found out what this stuff is!
Tuesday 25th October – 14:04
Well we’ve now finished with the very nice man from BBC Look North so we’ll see whether we make it onto the 18:30 slot tonight or get shunted off by a dog that rides a unicycle. Hopefully they’ll realise my face is made for radio and edit me out and all being well you’ll see some good shots of Tom getting down and dirty in a puddle…
Tuesday 25th October – 14:50
This one’s a bit of a shocker – just got a call from Radio New Zealand who want to do a piece on it as well. Good on them. Probably the second most beautiful part of the world after the Lake District!
Wednesday 26th October – 10:21
Well the story hit BBC’s Look North last night.
. Still no word from the Professor in Edinburgh….
Wednesday 26th October – 13:45
Finally some feedback on the star jelly sample from Dr Sluiman.
“I only had time on Monday to have a first look at the sample, and I
plan to go back to the microscope later today. My initial findings are
that there is evidence that these samples came from some animal (so
they don’t have an extra-terrestrial alien origin – sorry!). As a
botanist I can confidently rule out algae, and it isn’t a fungus
either. Ideally I need a zoologist (or a veterinary scientist perhaps)
to confirm that the sample that you collected is indeed from some
So it looks like a) the aliens are not to blame but b)he needs some help coming up with a definitive answer. So get in touch with him if you can help solve the mystery!
Thursday 27th October – 09:33
New sightings reported today near Huddersfield. Hopefully may provide some more answers! More on this story here.
Monday 31st October 09:45
Well still no definitve answer. Had an email over the weekend from a lady who’d spotted it in the Duddon Valley a few years ago out of rutting season, and a comment from one of the locals (see below) who has seen it before in the Patterdale area Hoping to get more news from Dr Sluiman this week…
About the Author
Rob Shephard lives and works in the Lake District. As well as an occasional blogger and frequent dog walker of Morgan, he is a director of Lovetoescape.com, a holiday accommodation owner, as well as the owner of Helvellyn Cottages in Glenridding and a Cottage in Patterdale – ideal if you want to come up and look for the Patterdale Blob!
A wobbly video taken that evening. Hopefully the soundtrack will give you an idea of the wind – as will the forlorn expression on Morgan’s face…
As for the stags, we saw a few at a distance, but will be heading up again in the coming days for a closer look….