Scotland prep: boots and midges


in The outdoors, Travel

Whenever I mention the upcoming Scotland hiking trip, talk rapidly turns to the Scottish Highland Midge (Culicoides Impunctatus). From everything I have read, the end of July is definitely high season for midges, and these aggressive creatures can be maddening. Does anyone have experience with dealing with these insects? I plan to equip myself with high DEET spray before I leave, though I am of two minds about the wisdom of purchasing an actual midge net. Supposedly, their concentrations vary a great deal by region. Our plan is as follows:

[W]e’re camping at Shiel Bridge (grid reference NG 938 186) (rather than near Invergarry as originally planned). This should be a wonderful base, located between Loch Duich, leading out towards Loch Alsh and the Isle of Skye, and Glen Shiel, site of the Battle of Glen Shiel in 1719. Glen Shiel itself is lined with Munros, including some of the finest hills in the Western Highlands. These include the classic Five Sisters of Kintail and the South Shiel Ridge, so we’ll be spoilt for choice!

In spite of anticipated midge problems, I am very excited about this trip. I’ve been wearing my hiking boots all day, with the aim of re-acclimatizing to them after a year in trainers. A great deal of joy can be extracted from torsional rigidity and ankle support. Despite being ankle-high, my boots are actually cooler feeling than my trainers. The people at MEC knew what they were talking about when they said that Gore-Tex shoes, while good in the wet, become excessively hot fairly easily.

PS. I will post a conversion of the coords above to UTM or DMS as soon as I can find a script that will deal with the UK grid.

[Update]: Converting from UK national grid to anything else is a huge pain. Not only does it have its own zero coordinates and uniquely sized zones, but it is based on a different datum from more familiar coordinate systems. You can read all about it, if you like.

UTM Coords: (30 V) E0337948 N6359854
Deg DeciMin N57.211605 W005.416130
Map and Perspective View

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ian July 14, 2006 at 3:57 pm

Not a comment as such, but I’ve just heard an interesting interview with a PR man who’s devoting a lot of time to exposing the mis-use of science in the global warming debate. He contributes to a blog called Among other things, he (and colleagues) want to expose any possible bias scientists or commenators may have, the deliberate obscuring of information, etc. Most welcome (or does anyone want to destroy its credibility?) A month or so ago, I heard a man deeply in global warming denial on a radio phone-in show claim that Nobel-winning scientists were on both sides of the debate. Someone got in before I did with the obvious question: name one Nobel scientist to denys global warming. Response? “Well, obviously I can’t just pull the name out of a hat just like that…” Hmmm. I wonder why he couldn’t?

Milan July 14, 2006 at 4:26 pm


That blog was mentioned in a previous comment, as well.

The big question about global warming isn’t whether it is happening or not. Rather, it is how damaging it will be, who will bear the costs, and what it would cost to stop or adjust to.

R.K. July 14, 2006 at 5:14 pm

This is relevant to the discussion, if not the post:

Rogue Scientist Has Own Scientific Method

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