Anyone got info on how bad the midges are in the highlands currently/forecast for the next few weeks?
Looking at a last minute trip somewhere over next weekend and into the week after. Maybe up to the west/southwestern highlands, but probably won't bother if they midges are likely to be out in force.
Can confirm midges have been on top form this week in the southern Highlands and they are absolutely brutal given any opportunity. I expect things will calm down a bit once the air masses start moving again.
I don't think anyone will be able to tell you anything useful here beyond the fact that unless it's windy there will be midge.
This. It's August. Expect midges unless there is a breeze -- they don't vary that much year on year at this time of year.
I climbed An Teallach on Monday and yes there was some midges around, but there has been so little wind lately and you only need a small breeze and they won't bother you. Anyway have a nice trip.
> Its been pretty bad on the W recently
Just looking at that midge map it makes the Southern Uplands out to be virtually a midge-free zone. I've car camped around Moffat and St Mary's Loch in September and it's been 'problematic' although nothing like Highland midge-ageddon. Most of the time it blew a hoolie and showered ...
Been in kinlochleven most of the week. Up over devil's staircase, and on to kingshouse, no midges.
Down at the campsite by Loch Leven, oh deary deary me... .
Exactly as expected! 😀
I was up there last week and a few squirts of jungle formula seemed to do the job. I didn't get a single bite, though unfortunately my littlest spent too much time bilberry-hunting in the undergrowth and was latched onto by a couple of ticks, which I consider far worse!
In the Loch Lomond area I haven't been bothered much in the garden over the last week, despite still air. Around Rowardennan at dusk on monday they weren't as bad as I had expected - coming and going, but not bothering us too badly. Makes me optimistic that they might be starting to ease off a little compared to how it's been through August...
Cairngorm ski centre car park this morning little the blighters were very hungry. Cairngorm summit fine, on Ben Macdui we got about 2 minutes before they found us and started biting enough to make us start moving. Not at plague levels but enough to be a pain.
Just back from my first August trip to Assynt, Sutherland and the Orkneys (Mainland, Hoy) for 10 days and was very pleasantly surprised. Nowhere near as bad as I expected so long as you box clever and are organised. Head nets stayed in the rucksack for the whole trip and only needed SSS for 2 days when there was absolutely no wind in the valleys. Didn't encounter a single clegg or tic but keds......wow, a first introduction, but manageable!
I was in Kintail on Monday and Tuesday. The midgies were fine, but the deer keds were awful above about 300m, particularly in the late afternoon and early evening. I had to use my midge net for a while, there were so many of the little blighters. Their favourite trick is to crawl up the back of your neck and into your hair. I've also got bites from when I was wearing shorts and they crawled up underneath the waist band. There's no known repellent for them, apparently.
> I was in Kintail on Monday and Tuesday. The midgies were fine, but the deer keds were awful above about 300m, particularly in the late afternoon and early evening. I had to use my midge net for a while, there were so many of the little blighters. Their favourite trick is to crawl up the back of your neck and into your hair. I've also got bites from when I was wearing shorts and they crawled up underneath the waist band. There's no known repellent for them, apparently.
Are these deer keds a new thing? I don't think I have ever been aware of them. Not heard of them either until this summer.
No. I first met them 45 years ago south of Loch Arkaig. They were noticeable in that I could squash them flat but when the pressure was released they just carried on as if nothing had happened. Almost indestructible! After shedding their wings the adults like to bury themselves in any hair you have - and I mean any hair. No matter where it is they will find it. More an irritant than anything else I don't recall being bitten by them over the years. After the encounters in Lochaber I've met them mainly on the west coast with one memorable couple of horrendous days around Bla Bheinn on Skye when they, I'm sure, outnumbered the midges. Last Thursday they were bad on the Ben on a couple of the ridges. Unfortunately repellents do not seem to have any effect. It would appear that they are spreading as I have seen them around Gartmorn Dam near Alloa in the past couple of years.
> Are these deer keds a new thing? I don't think I have ever been aware of them. Not heard of them either until this summer.
Same here and also never knowingly encountered one in decades of Highland wandering.
I'm sure they've been around for a long time, judging from old threads on UKH. I haven't encountered them in such numbers until recently, but perhaps that's also because I haven't been to the 'right' hills. From talking to people on the hill, I've found we may confuse them with flying ants, which are also around at the moment. The flying ants seem to hang out at summit cairns, whereas the keds are much more widespread.
I first became aware of them 15 years ago in the Pyrenees. The locals called them cow flies, but we called them robo-flies. As Williecleuch points out, they're virtually indestructible. If you swat them like you would a normal fly, they just lap it up. If you brush them off, they're back on you in a millisecond. My technique is to clap a hand over them and pull it back until I can squash them thoroughly between finger and thumb.
Did you say neds hanging around summit cairns, christ they get about!
Eurgh, I've had two memorable run-ins with deer keds, on a Torridon summit camp and Knoydart. I find them much more repulsive than midgies (but only slightly more than ticks).
I've also never knowingly been bitten by one but there were plenty out around The Ben last week, persistent and unsquashable (unless you use the nail-to-nail technique). They don't seem to care too much about repellents and seem to be attracted by movement more than anything!
> I've also never knowingly been bitten by one but there were plenty out around The Ben last week, persistent and unsquashable (unless you use the nail-to-nail technique). They don't seem to care too much about repellents and seem to be attracted by movement more than anything!
If they don't bite, are they any worse than midges once you've got repellent on?
> Keds are they the same as cleggs AKA houseflies?
No. Clegs are HORSEflies. Their bites hurt - unlike houseflies. Keds are something else.
Thanks for the info everyone!
To hijack my own thread, what about Arran? Less midgey? Considering it instead of the highlands, and I get the impression midges might be less of an issue than up north, but once again i'm ready to be proved otherwise by people's recent experiences
> Thanks for the info everyone!
> To hijack my own thread, what about Arran? Less midgey? Considering it instead of the highlands, and I get the impression midges might be less of an issue than up north, but once again i'm ready to be proved otherwise by people's recent experiences
Arrived on Arran late this afternoon. Perfect midge weather buy only a few around. Breeze picked up in the last hour and even fewer around now (outskirts of Brodick)
This has been the driest year in NW Highlands I can remember. I live in Gairloch. So not a bad year for midges. Only been a problem this past week with a bit more moisture. Deer keds are around in September into early October but rarely noticeable at other times. They have amazing stickabilty as others have mentioned and difficult to knock off your skin. They do bite but only after a more prolonged stay on your person. I don't understand why so many people only head for the Highlands in August to walk and climb. April and May are always the driest months in the north west with no midge,cleg,deer ked problems. The roads are quieter then and accomodattion easier to find. And the dreaded NC 500road horde haven't arrived
I live on the Isle of Mull - we’ve had barely any midges all summer, just early morning if you walk over the grass but they’re gone once it warms up. I live next to a wild meadow with a resident herd of deer, so ticks are the main problem, forever picking them off the dog.
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