Replan and midge season

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
LittleGreyCat
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Replan and midge season

Postby LittleGreyCat » 20 Dec 2019, 5:13pm

I was planning to do JOGLE in September, finishing around my 70th birthday, then fly off to Australia for some winter sun.

However the fire season this year suggests that it won't be advisable to make plans to be in Australia from the start of November onward.

Given that I really fancy going to Australia, it looks as though I should move the JOGLE dates.

I've checked online for the midge season and found https://www.smidgeup.com/midges/midge-season/ which suggests that I should look at no later than mid-May.

I realise that if I get my legs pumping I won't be in midge heaven for more than a few days, and that once I am moving the midges won't be able to catch me. However from camping on the north coast of Scotland (Durness) I am aware that the midge catch up with you as soon as you stop moving so I would prefer to avoid them during "down time" if possible.

So from those experienced LEJOG/JOGLE riders, when does the midge become a real problem?
Any downsides in doing the ride in early May?

teamonster
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Re: Replan and midge season

Postby teamonster » 20 Dec 2019, 7:25pm

Watching replies to this with interest as contemplating an early May JOGLE as well. Wondering about midges and how cold it can get

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Paulatic
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Re: Replan and midge season

Postby Paulatic » 20 Dec 2019, 7:45pm

You’ll be safe in May.
This year I was cycling back through Skye on 20th May and in the morning after a bit of drizzle there were a few of the little critters but not troublesome. That was all I’d met in 10 days.
As for temperature I’d prepare for the odd cold night if camping in early May especially if stopping at a high altitude.
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LittleGreyCat
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Re: Replan and midge season

Postby LittleGreyCat » 20 Dec 2019, 9:32pm

Jumped in with both feet and booked the first three nights.
Bettyhill, Lairg and Cromarty.
Using booking.com and making sure the bookings are free cancellation so there is always time to replan.
I'm working from a "minimum hills route" posted by Richard, with the "reverse route" function invoked.
https://cycle.travel/map/journey/122770

This will be a comfortable accommodation trip as I have confirmed that I will have my partner driving the support vehicle so we will travel in style.
No bivvy bags in bus shelters for this trip. :-)

It will be a long drive up, split over 3 days, because there is no point in half killing myself with 6+ hour car trips just before the long ride.
This is supposed to be an exciting adventure, not self flagellation.

I am contemplating starting another post on which I will edit in the maps as they get firmed up, giving a day by day plan of the route.
We shall see if I can raise the energy on the day, as the plan is to just book the first few nights then book day by day.

mfpnl
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Re: Replan and midge season

Postby mfpnl » 20 Dec 2019, 10:15pm

My son and I did slowish Sustrans/Cicerone LEJOG in 2017 from last week of May to first two weeks in June. Charlie picked up a few bites outside the pub/bunkhouse at Invershin. But apart from that, we were midge-free the whole trip.

LittleGreyCat
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Re: Replan and midge season

Postby LittleGreyCat » 20 Dec 2019, 10:31pm

OT - just realised I will be cycling past Speyside.
Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a gentle route via Dufftown and Aberlour.
[I remember the hill up to the centre of Dufftown when we were visiting in motorised transport. Well steep.]

Enigmadick
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Re: Replan and midge season

Postby Enigmadick » 22 Dec 2019, 3:52pm

Having lived and cycled in the Hebrides my view is that midges are not much of a problem for cyclists.

They are no problem when you are moving and are only about for an hour or so in the morning and early evening particularly in still air. So as long as you are not out in the open at these times you shouldn't have a problem. But if you're camping, just apply some chemical deterrent and either hunker down in your tent or the nearest pub.
ENIGMA DICK aka Richard Barrett
.............................................................................
https://www.cicerone.co.uk/authors/richard-barrett

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Mick F
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Re: Replan and midge season

Postby Mick F » 22 Dec 2019, 4:40pm

Scottish midges are in the west.
Keep away from the west, and you'll be fine.

This is speaking from experience of living there, and cycling.
Lived in the east of Scotland for six odd years 1973 to 1980 and we'd never heard of the midge problem.
Moved south to Plymouth, and then some few years later moved to the west of Scotland.
From then on, we knew about them, but they were only an issue out in the hills and near the lochs.

Some time after moving to the west, we bought a house in Balloch to the south of Loch Lomond spring 1983 and we could see Ben Lomond from the livingroom and decided to climb it. We got the children to a neighbour who got them to school, and meanwhile we drove to Rowerdennan to park up and climb. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Row ... -4.6438649
We took a packed lunch and set off. Three hours up to 3,000odd ft summit, and an hour and a half back down.

Within a few hundred feet, we were inundated with midges. First we'd ever ever ever seen despite living in Scotland a total of seven years by then. We didn't escape the midges and were unable to sit down and eat our lunch until maybe 2,500ft up. :shock:

Scottish midges are famous these days, but they aren't ubiquitous there at all.
Done JOGLE in 1994, LEJOG and Back in 2006, and JOGLE again in 2010.
No midges at all ........... because I stayed east.

Did a Grand Tour in 2007 including Skye and Mull of Kintyre and Aran ............. midges galore!!!!!! .............. but I knew I'd have a problem because I was in the west.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Syd
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Re: Replan and midge season

Postby Syd » 22 Dec 2019, 4:52pm

Mick F wrote:Scottish midges are in the west.
Keep away from the west, and you'll be fine.
.

Not exclusively a west coast problem, through they are more common there.

https://www.onlandscape.co.uk/2016/07/d ... ish-midge/

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Paulatic
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Re: Replan and midge season

Postby Paulatic » 22 Dec 2019, 5:29pm

Mick F wrote:Scottish midges are in the west.
Keep away from the west, and you'll be fine.
.

Take that with a pinch of salt things must have changed since Mick’s experience. :D
If you are in the hills, wooded areas and not in direct line of a sea breeze then expect them anywhere. Wimps LEJOG saw midgies at Abington, Blair Atholl, and Craggie which was just short of Inverness.
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Mick F
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Re: Replan and midge season

Postby Mick F » 22 Dec 2019, 7:35pm

Ah, but you were later in the year.
May/June is best in Scotland. Midges come out later and eventually get further east in the Highlands.

Generally though, I am correct.
Mick F. Cornwall

ChrisButch
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Re: Replan and midge season

Postby ChrisButch » 22 Dec 2019, 8:50pm

I've been hillwalking in the Highlands for a good few decades, and of course midges are much more of a problem for hillwalkers than (road) cyclists, for all sorts of reasons: not least because when walking in the hills you're more often close to midge-breeding wet ground than on the road. However, what has been noticeable in recent years is that the biting females start to become a problem earlier than was once the case. In the 70s/80s you could head in to the hills for a week or so with a tent and be pretty confident of being midge-free until the back end of June. Now you can find problems from as early as mid-May.
However, if your only camp is on the north coast at Durness, you should be OK anyway. The grass is mostly short and sheep-cropped on the Durness limestone, and there's usually at least a breeze off the sea. Also on a bike you are less likely to pick up ticks, which are a growing problem in the Highlands - but be careful about putting down clothes etc if you need to get off the road when miles from a public loo.

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Syd
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Replan and midge season

Postby Syd » 22 Dec 2019, 8:55pm

Mick F wrote:Ah, but you were later in the year.
May/June is best in Scotland. Midges come out later and eventually get further east in the Highlands.

Generally though, I am correct.

Believe me you are not correct (I’m Scottish born and bred). The number, and spread, of midges is very much determined by how cold, or not, the previous winter was. With a mild winter they can be out in force early.

I’ve played outdoor bowls in late May / early June and been bitten hundreds of times.

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John1054
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Re: Replan and midge season

Postby John1054 » 22 Dec 2019, 10:20pm

I've been midge fodder in late May and early June - Smidgy rules O.K. :o

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Mick F
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Re: Replan and midge season

Postby Mick F » 23 Dec 2019, 4:23pm

I can only speak of experience.
I bow down to people there in the know.

Before we married, we toured Scotland top to bottom. Both of us brought up in Lancashire. Triumph Herald all the way to the top of Scotland and back summer of 1972. Visited Edinburgh, Perth, across to the west and to Inverness, Durness and Strathy and JOG etc. Homeward via Helmsdale and the east coast back to Edinburgh, then down via Yorkshire.

After marrying in 1973, moved to Rosyth, Fife in the summer of 1974 into a married quarter. We bought a dog, had a baby girl, moved to another married quarter down the road, was given a kitten, had another daughter, and left Rosyth in January 1980 for Plymouth.

Never saw nor heard of midges at any time ever.

In September 1982, we moved back to Scotland to Helensburgh and a married quarter.
I cycle commuted to Faslane Submarine Base on the shores of Gare Loch.
Didn't like the married quarter much so bought a house in Balloch January 1983 not more than a few hundred yards from the southern shores of Loch Lomond. Continued to cycle commute.

Never saw nor heard of Scottish midges until we heard stories from people. No experience and none seen by us at any time, and even me cycling every day.

It wasn't until we climbed Ben Lomond, that we'd ever seen them. Didn't see them again.
We left Scotland in Summer of 1985.
Mick F. Cornwall