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Advice about Isle of Harris and Lewis-camping and bugs

Hello,

I am a photographer and will be visiting Harris and Lewis for a few days in August. When I see pictures I see there is a lot of what looks to be tall grass, sheep, possibly deer.

I am wondering if anyone can give me advice about ticks. Are they a huge problem in this part of Scotland? Does anyone have advice on how to prevent getting bit without using a lot of poisonous chemicals on my body?

I also have read about midges. I really do not want to have to wear a midge net but I hear they can be brutal. Any midge advice?

Having said all this, I welcome any advice anyone has about taking great photos. I am not camping, I am staying in a Bed and Breakfast, but I do like to sit out on the beach and read, especially in the very early morning (sunrise) and sunset. I will be renting a car for two of the days and although I am nervous about driving on the left side of the road, people have told me it is not too bad on these islands. Thanks!

Posted by
5669 posts

I did a trip to Harris and Lewis a few years ago, but I never worried about ticks, but perhaps I should have. But unlike the US where the deer are the carriers it looks like sheep do in Scotland. You might want to read this article from Undiscovered Scotland on Ticks. That said, when I was there we really didn't walk through lots of grass and I didn't see as many sheep as I've seen elsewhere in Scotland.

As for midges, for the most part you won't need to wear a midgie hat, but when you encounter them, you will want one. I have hiked quite a bit in Scotland and really only needed by midgie wear a handful of times. I do tend to use Deet. I figure I use it once or twice a year at most, so I can take it. I've never found that the skin so soft options work for me.

You will be fine driving. There is much less traffic and you'll find that you do get used to it. If you are not an experienced driver of standard cars be sure to request an automatic.

One of my favorite photos is one I took on a very misty day on Luskentyre Beach. But, the ones I took at the Butt of Lewis were also wonderful. We went for a hike near Carloway Broch and I got great pictures of the hills and sea and of a very funny sheep mail box. The color of the water is marvelous. You can get fantastic pictures of the Calanais Stones. You can walk among them and there will be few people. I love my pictures from there.

Pam

Posted by
458 posts

lisa be sure to get the smallest car you can cram yourself into! if they try to upsize you do your best to hang tuff and stay with a small small car!

Posted by
238 posts

Thank you both for your helpful replies. Pamela, I would love to see your pics :-). I will keep doing some research as I have found that the more I plan, the better I enjoy my vacations. As for the rental car, yes, I have to use a standard so I am limited to a certain type of car which I think will be a "Jazz" (cannot remember if it is Honda or Hyundai).

Posted by
238 posts

Another question...does a person have to walk across many dunes or the machair to get to beaches like Luskentyre, Scarista and Dalbeg? I am allergic to bees and cannot use an epi-pen. I have to avoid all places with a lot of flowers. Were there a lot of bees in Harris and Lewis?

Posted by
5669 posts

I don't think I saw any bees, but that doesn't mean that there weren't some. I don't remember a lot of flowers. The heather is what is blooming at that time. I mostly remember grass at Luskentyre.

Posted by
238 posts

Is there a way to walk to Luskentyre, Scarista and Dalbeg without walking through any machair or grass?

Posted by
5669 posts

I would suggest that you get in touch with the tourist information and see if that is possible. Here's a link with an email to the local TI.

Pam

Posted by
238 posts

Thank you, Pamela. I had not seen that link. I will send them a note.