THE great outdoors was the place to be as the sun shone strongly during the long summer of 1999 – but you had to take care about jellyfish and blood-sucking leeches.

The Mail, on July 28 in 1999, warned readers: “Stinging jellyfish as big as two feet wide have been spotted off one of Barrow’s most popular beaches.

“Hundreds of bathers enjoying the hot weather at Earnse Bay, Biggar Bank and other Walney beaches have been warned to watch out for the creatures.

“Dozens of the jellyfish have been swept up from southern waters by prevailing tides and the recent high temperatures.

“The jellyfish can give a nasty nettle-like sting to swimmers and even people paddling in shallow waters.

“The jellyfish off the Walney coast are called compass, because they have a series of rays coming from the centre of its dome.

“The Walney alert came after stinging jellyfish were reported off England’s North East coast at the weekend.

“Hundreds of lion’s mane jellyfish have been swept there by warm currents from their native waters off France.

“Several people were taken to hospital after being stung at South Shields and South Tyneside.”

If a country walk was your way to enjoy the summer of 1999, then tarns and areas of still water held a very different danger – previously unknown colonies of rare blood-sucking leeches.

The Mail, on July 30, noted that South Cumbria was a major stronghold for what had become an endangered species.

An English Nature survey funded by Glaxo-Wellcome had found 15 new sites for them in Crook, near Windermere, in the Winster Valley and at Subberthwaite, south of Coniston.

The invertebrates were used in medieval medicine and were commonly found throughout England until the 20 th century.

The article noted: “Their numbers declined rapidly and they are now a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

“South Cumbria is one of only a handful of places where the leeches survived.”

Erica Donnison, of English Nature, said: “It’s very pleasing to have found so many more sites.”