My husband read somewhere that Skin so Soft is the best repellent to use for those pesky midges. Asking those who have experienced walking the trail what they used, and can it be purchased at nearby shops in Milngavie before starting on the trail? Thanks
Buy a headnet before you go. The skin so soft may keep them from biting but they will certainly swarm your face which is also annoying.
I'd go with the midge hat. If you wait until you arrive in Scotland, they are available at all outdoor shops (Tiso, Nevisport, Craigdon, Black's, Mountain Wearhouse, etc.). They run about 12 pounds. They look absolutely silly, but you will be eternally grateful that you have one. They also pack very small!
The repellent of choice in Scotland is Smidge, which, again, is available at outdoor shops. I've had good luck with Repel Lemon Eucalyptus, which is available through Amazon, if you can't find any locally. I think that Target started carrying it recently. It has a strong smell, but it is DEET free.
Best of luck on the trail!
For years and years including the time long ago and far away when I lived in Florida, land of mosquitoes, that Skin So Soft was marketed as a bug repellent. Honestly, I've never had success with it and I am sensitive to scents so it smells way too strong for me. It may just be that I am an attractive dish to all manner of biting insects and perhaps those for whom Skin so Soft works are not quite as yummy, bug-wise.
You'll probably want some kind of hat if you are going to get a head net. A hat with an all around brim like a sunhat works best but a ball cap will work in a pinch.
I've got the head net I use for Yellowstone in the pile of stuff "to be packed" for Orkney and Shetland next month but not sure if I will need it. Lightweight, small, will probably go anyway.
For any kind of biting bug sensitivity, I do recommend taking some kind of sting or itch remedy with you. I've had good luck with an herbal one from Similisan. Surprised me that it worked so well. It's in a little teeny roll-on type container.
(edited for clarity because I must not have had enough coffee when I originally posted)
Skin so Soft never really worked for us while hiking in either Ireland or Scotland. The lemon-eucalyptus stuff seemed to be more effective, though we also made selective use of a DEET product to keep the midges at bay.
Your best bet is probably to go with whatever the local outdoor shops recommend - they'll know best what works and what doesn't.
A head net would be a prudent investment I think.
We’ll be in the Arctic next week. The headnets will be in our coat pocket as I read there are possibly mozzies, black flies and midges. The nets weigh nothing and are inexpensive to buy in the states. If we don’t need the nets that’s great but we will be prepared.
I just watched a You Tube piece today by a young American guy called Kraig Adams who recently walked the West Highland Way. If anybody is in any doubt about the damage midges can inflict on a person, a watch of this video will prove a salutary lesson.
He had an American bug net but the mesh wasn’t fine enough to prevent Scotland’s finest bloodsuckers doing their worst. They damn near chewed his face off and he was brave enough to film the resultant mess his face turned into.
So….Scottish midge net, and repellent of choice. Lots of it!
Kraig’s You Tube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6Lr0NPZ1L4
Hi again, Deborah,
I just checked Amazon U.S., and they do carry a midge net made by Smidge. However, it's not a midge hat, as you'd find in Scotland. If you decide to get one of these Smidge nets, I'd recommend wearing it over a wide brimmed hat, as opposed to a baseball cap. This would keep the mesh off of your face and neck.
The ones which we purchased were the Lifesystems brand. They cost 11 pounds a few years ago, but I don't think that they have gone up much in price since then.
You may be lucky and never encounter any midges. But adding a couple of ounces to your packs will save your sanity (and possibly your marriage!) if you go prepared!
Best wishes once again!
p.s.: Smidge publishes an on-line midge forecast, which you may want to check out. Fortunately, midges have not yet found a way to access the internet. If they did, they would most likely swarm where they are least expected to be!
"He had an American bug net but the mesh wasn’t fine enough to prevent Scotland’s finest bloodsuckers doing their worst."
Oh NO!! I did not know that! Well, I might need to look for a midge net on my day in Aberdeen, lol!!
Well, you won't need a midge hat in Aberdeen! The wee beasties don't like granite. However, if you're looking to buy a midge hat while you're in the city, I'd recommend Tiso, at the corner of John Street and Loch Street, or Blacks, at 135 George Street, just up from the back end of the Bon Accord Centre. There's also a Craigdon Shop on St Andrew's Street, just around the corner from Tiso. So that's three outdoor shops within a three block radius. How do they stay in business?
Craigdon has the Lifesystem hats listed for 10 pounds 99, which is exactly what we paid six years ago. The nice thing about the Lifesystem hats is that they have a drawstring at the bottom, so that you can tighten the bottom of the mesh to keep the little effers from flying up underneath!
We stopped at Glencoe Visitors center and bought spray and head nets…just spend 3 days on Skye and no midges! We lucked out… always a wind blowing
@IanandJulie…I just got around to watching the youtube video of Kraig hiking the WHW. Oh my word on the midge bites! It’s at about 17:05 for those that want to skip ahead. Thanks for the link.
When I first watched it, there was a dawning realisation of what had happened to his poor face. As it sunk it there was a definite “OMG!” Moment and then he bravely (foolishly?) filmed himself being swarmed by the midges which was more than just a tiny bit terrifying. Like I said, a salutary lesson if one were needed!
Ian, I was totally creeped out by the number landing on him. Long ago and far away I lived in FL including the time before air conditioning, lol. The midges topped any mosquito attack!