Blake Mere, high on Morridge a little over a mile from Longnor, is said to be bottomless. If you gaze upon its surface, especially around midnight, a mermaid will rise from the depths, combing her hair. She will call to you, but you’d be ill advised to walk to the water’s edge and approach her. There’s an old local rhyme:
She calls on you to greet her,
Combing her dripping crown,
And if you go to meet her,
She ups and drags you down.
There have been many unexplained deaths at Blake Mere. Of course, you might not see the mermaid. Even at midnight, you might only see an arm rising from the middle of the water, beckoning you slowly and hypnotically.
If the mermaid doesn’t surface, you can always see another on display at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.
Unlike the mermaid of Blake Mere, the Buxton Mermaid probably comes from Africa, and was acquired via the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine. Her hair is human, her upper body is constructed of wood and wire, teeth are carved bone, and eyes are mollusc shell. Her tail is covered with real fish scales.
For more about the Blake Mere story – and about the Peak District’s other two mermaids (one on the Roaches, one near Kinder Downfall) – see:
Mark P. Henderson, Folktales of the Peak District, Amberley Publishing, 2011, pp. 90-92.