Midge watch

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
althebike
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Midge watch

Postby althebike » 11 Jun 2018, 11:11am

Looking at the midge forecast site for Scotland, the B&B route looks fairly midge free, it could be that data just is not collected along the route .Aviemore looks to have a lot but the route passes east of that from Grantown and Tomintoul.
How much of a problem are midges for end to enders? Is it better to buy a repellent there if needed or always carry something?

hufty
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Re: Midge watch

Postby hufty » 11 Jun 2018, 11:37am

If the website you are looking at shows no midges for your route then obviously you will not encounter any midges hence no need to pack any repellent. Have a nice trip!
Please do not use this post in Cycle magazine

althebike
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Re: Midge watch

Postby althebike » 11 Jun 2018, 12:30pm

If the map showed the whole of Scotland, with areas in different shades to show the populations of midges, then I would agree with you, but the map I saw displayed it differently,it looks good from Inverness to JOG but the cairngorms look bad to the west with the situation getting worse the further west you go.
My route goes around the circles.I have read warnings about the midges and wanted to know about the experience of other riders .
https://www.smidgeup.com/midge-forecast/

PhilPub
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Re: Midge watch

Postby PhilPub » 11 Jun 2018, 3:13pm

Just a single data point, but camping at the Red Squirrel campsite in Glencoe about two weeks ago was a flippin' nightmare!
Last edited by PhilPub on 12 Jun 2018, 8:11am, edited 1 time in total.

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pjclinch
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Re: Midge watch

Postby pjclinch » 11 Jun 2018, 3:29pm

Midges have an airspeed of not more than walking speed so as long as you're moving, especially by bike, you'll be fine.

The problem comes when you stop, and for such a windy country Scotland manages to be dead flat calm quite a lot of the time :(

I dislike repellent and since I don't react that badly (the bite will just show up as a non-itching small disc for less than a a day and then go) I just rely on physical barriers: long sleeves and trouser legs and a mesh hood. My wife reacts much worse to them than I do (itchy lumps) and uses quite a lot of repellent as well as physical barriers. It's easy enough to buy in places you'll want it so no need to carry gallons, but have some handy before you need it.

It's perhaps worth stressing that even for the likes of me that suffer no actual pain from bites (unlike a mozzi bite you can't really feel them go in, midges are much smaller) midges are a scourge. When they're there they come in large (actually, that's typically huge) numbers and the annoyance levels of being in a cloud of the wee basturts with no protection (chemical or physical) are off the scale.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

A7 Simon
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Re: Midge watch

Postby A7 Simon » 11 Jun 2018, 7:07pm

We had no problem until we stayed last night at Altnaharra, by a loch.
If you stayed still it was horrible.
Mostly there has been a light wind which probably kept them away.
I am glad we were not camping.

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Mick F
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Re: Midge watch

Postby Mick F » 11 Jun 2018, 7:50pm

Having lived in Scotland a total of nearly ten years, I have something to say about the midges.

We moved to Rosyth (just over the River Forth from Edinburgh) and lived there from summer 1974 to Spring 1980. We never ever heard anything about the midges or saw or felt any. We travelled up and down the east coast on many an occasion and had friends in Peterhead (north of Aberdeen) and went up there and stayed there too. We also used to go picnicking up in the Perth direction and even in the Trossachs, let alone south near Peebles and the Borders. Never saw a midge, and never heard of anyone talking about them.

Some years later - mid 1980s - we moved to the West of Scotland and bought a house in Balloch on the shores of Loch Lomond.
That was completely different! :lol:
Although we weren't plagued with them at home, if we went into the hills or down by the loch, they were a pest.
Neighbours of ours were MOD Police and one was based on the lochs. It was a major problem to them and they were issued routinely with mozzy repellent ointment, and he gave us a couple of bottles of it.

Therefore, and this is still the case because I've been back to both sides of Scotland a few times since then, that the mozzies are in the west, but not in the east.

If you do an End2End, do it on the east, and not on the A82 along Loch Lomond and Loch Ness.

I've done JOGLE, LEJOG and Back, and another JOGLE, plus cycle toured Scotland extensively. The only mozzies are in the west.
If you don't like them, stay on the eastern routes.

PhilPub wrote:Just a single data point, but camping at the Red Squirrel campsite in Glencoe about two weeks ago was flippin' nightmare!
Been there a few times, and I agree.
Mick F. Cornwall

LollyKat
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Re: Midge watch

Postby LollyKat » 11 Jun 2018, 11:09pm

Having lived in Scotland for 60 years I agree that the west coast is worse than the east. Even so, I would recommend the OP to pack a small tube/bottle of repellent just in case he is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Some further observations here. :D

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Mick F
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Re: Midge watch

Postby Mick F » 12 Jun 2018, 8:29am

LollyKat wrote:Having lived in Scotland for 60 years I agree that the west coast is worse than the east.
This suggests that there is a problem - though less of a problem - in the east?
As I've said, having been there, and lived there, saw none at all.
Last there in late May 2010 on JOGLE via Inverness, Pitlochry and Edinburgh. Never saw a single midge, though flies were an issue of course.
Mick F. Cornwall

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pjclinch
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Re: Midge watch

Postby pjclinch » 12 Jun 2018, 10:19am

Mick F wrote:
LollyKat wrote:Having lived in Scotland for 60 years I agree that the west coast is worse than the east.
This suggests that there is a problem - though less of a problem - in the east?
As I've said, having been there, and lived there, saw none at all.
Last there in late May 2010 on JOGLE via Inverness, Pitlochry and Edinburgh. Never saw a single midge, though flies were an issue of course.


I stay in Dundee, on the East coast, and we do not have a midge problem. You can get them in slightly annoying numbers on a warm, still day on the East (coast and inland), particularly in still woodland. Nothing like the West coast, where they're a genuine scourge, but enough to be a bother, and if you react badly to the bites worth doing something about. So marshalling at a dirt crit in woods in Dundee at the end of summer I was assailed by as many as a dozen, while camping on the W. coast you can be looking at thousands (not an exaggeration).

A couple of illusions people have that I'll dispel here, first is that they don't come out in the rain. They do. Second, that you won't find them high up, and having been thoroughly lunched upon while ascending the Inn Pinn on Skye, at over 3,000 feet, while you may not find them, they'll find you if there's no wind.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

althebike
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Re: Midge watch

Postby althebike » 12 Jun 2018, 11:24am

Thank you all for your replies, and helping put the situation into perspective. I am very grateful. Thank you also for the utube link to Kenneth McKellar, he has a great voice.

robing
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Re: Midge watch

Postby robing » 12 Jun 2018, 2:46pm

Agree with above, midges not much of a concern when cycling, nightmare if camping though. In 2013 I cycled up the west coast of Scotland as part of dover to cape wrath. It was a heatwave and midges were noticeable by their absence.
However, I got badly bitten by clegs. They can get you on a bike especially up the hills and can bite through clothing.

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Mick F
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Re: Midge watch

Postby Mick F » 12 Jun 2018, 3:03pm

Some few years back, I was cycling west in Scotland near Kyle of Lochalsh on my way to Skye.
The morning was warming up and I was wearing bib tights and wanted to get into shorts. Due to this, I had to undress to nearly naked! :lol:

I found a nice hidden area off the road and undressed. Within a minute, I was inundated with midges. I don't think there's ever been a man who got dressed and riding away as quickly as me that morning. :lol:

As soon as I got moving, they were gone, though every so often I would ride through a swarm of them and I could see and feel them spatting against me.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Mick F
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Re: Midge watch

Postby Mick F » 12 Jun 2018, 3:06pm

PS:

Where do they live and breed? What do they eat?
Why only - mainly - the West of Scotland?
Not aware of them in the West of Wales or West of England. Never been to the West of Ireland.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Mick F
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Re: Midge watch

Postby Mick F » 12 Jun 2018, 3:24pm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_midge
Just read this short article.

Holidayed in NW Wales many many times, and never seen or felt one.

Dry cloudless conditions are unfavourable to midges, thus they are prevalent in humid, wet and cloudy conditions. Rain does not deter them, nor does darkness. However, they tend not to go into houses or buildings, but will enter tents.
The dry East of Scotland isn't the best for them, but the damp West is their friend.

When we lived in Balloch here:
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@55.99478 ... 312!8i6656
There was a manhole cover in the "ginnell" between the terraces, and as it was a steel one, it was indented and bent on the top. It had a puddle of water in it, and it never dried out for the two years we lived there.
Mick F. Cornwall