by site editor Rick McCharles
Most who have never visited Scotland mainly know the country because of the 1995 Academy-award winning historical action-drama film produced and directed by Mel Gibson, Braveheart.
Scotland was right irked at the time when Mel and crew decided to move most of the movie shoot to … Ireland.
… Ireland had won by offering a whole basket of measures, including use of the Irish army as extras in battle scenes …
That’s the official story. But a Scottish bus driver who was working during some of the Scottish shoot told me that Mel and the crew could not work outdoors in Scotland … because of MIDGES.
What are MIDGES ??
Click PLAY or watch Scotland’s most ferocious predator on YouTube.
There’s even a Scottish Midge Forecast website.
By a terrible coincidence, most of the best hiking in Scotland is in Midge country, the rugged highlands and islands.
For example, one story out of LP Walking in Scotland from the best coastal hike, Cape Wrath:
… We lit the stove for a brew but, within a minute, were reduced to futile, flailing anguish as the black clouds of voracious insects swarmed upon us – even into our mouths. …”
I finally decided to give up on Scotland hiking while attempting the excellent Ring of Steall loop. At the trailhead I saw many of the Scot hikers coming off the trail with mosquito net hats. As you’ll see in the video, I did not have one with me.
Click PLAY or watch me on YouTube.
I’m not Bravehearted enough to face the midges.
They aren’t as bad as the sand flies of western South Island New Zealand, but they are too much for me.
One survey found that 86% of visitors warn their friends not to visit Scotland during the key summer months of July and August. Actually, Scotland is no problem in the summer, so long as you don’t stop moving. The cities are fine. But I’d warn everyone not to hike Scotland between June and September, unless you are much tougher than I.