The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Sunset. Loch. Midges.


Loch Ken, July 4th 2008, 9.40pm

Ah, now, would you look at that.

Occasionally round here you get a break in the clouds as the sun is going down over a loch, and the colours and reflections are just breathtaking. You don't have to be a world class photographer; all you need to do is point and shoot and nature does the rest.

Go on, click on the photo and see a full screen version - you'll be glad you did (unless you have a black and white monitor and are still on dial-up).

In fact, this was so breathtaking I ended up taking something like 84 pictures with my digital camera; nearly all came out beautifully and everyone went, "ooooh" when we looked at them on the computer the following day.

However, the gods clearly have something of a dubious sense of humour when it comes to Scotland, creating some of the most stunning landscapes in the world, while simultaneously making them impossible to enjoy because of the weather and the midges (wee flying biting creatures, which make life a misery - if coming to Scotland, be sure to check the Midge Forecast).

If you look real close at the picture, you might just notice all these little specks on the water.

They were not caused by dust on the lens.

Thousands upon thousands of midges were zooming back and forth, a few inches from the surface, while huge clouds of them gathered above our heads.

Despite the dangerousness of the situation, Maggie and I escaped being eaten alive.

There are all sorts of midge repellents on the market, including Avon's So Soft Body Oil. Avon don't actually advertise it as such as the anti-midge quality is an unexpected side effect, but apparently British Royal Marine Commandos on training exercises in Scotland swear by it, and somehow I can't imagine they'd apply it for macho reasons.

However, Maggie's natural concoction of a few drops of citronella added to water in a pump spray bottle and squirted over exposed areas of skin really does the job.

Either that or we were lucky enough to avoid their meal time.


Sayre said...

Here in the South, we call them no-see-ums. Nasty little things. How can a mouth so tiny bite so big?

Your picture is gorgeous!!!

karatemom said...

absolutely stunning!!!!!
I have oft thought that the only place I have ever truly had a desire to visit in this world is Scotland as that is my heritage and where my father came to canada from. After seeing this amazing picture it only makes me want to visit there that much more!

Thanks for sharing this !!

Brave Astronaut said...

Ah, skeeter season, although we have midges, no-see-ums, also. Now if I weren't so sweet, perhaps I wouldn't get bit as much.

On top of the poison ivy I am getting over, I am one big itch.

ArleneWKW said...

Jaw dropping beautiful. I've gotten this Avon product and used it with varying degrees of success. Citronella with water in a spray bottle sounds like an excellent idea. I'll try it - if I can find plain citronella some place around here. I don't know how easily found it is.

Doug Dog said...

Spectacular! And the full screen version just blows me away.

That’s pretty funny about the Avon’s So Soft Body Oil and the British Royal Marine Commandos. They are probably very careful about in whose presence they “load up”!

Does the Sunset Loch have its own monster?

PI said...

Isn't there always a fly in the ointment?

Stinkypaw said...

When I enlarged the picture I thought it was raining when you took that shoot... midges, Ill try to remember that if and when we ever make it to Scotland (which is on my wish list!)

Gorgeous picture by the way, thanks for sharing!

Kim Ayres said...

Sayre - no-see-ums? They're seen easily enough here because they swarm like clouds

KarateMom - Perhaps I should warn you it's not always like this - mostly it's dull and grey

Brave Astronaut - apparently the best way to avoid getting bitten is to hang around with someone more tasty (true). Fortunately my wife is tastier than me.

Arlene - Maggie just gets wee bottles of essential oils with the citonella in it

Doug Dog - I've currently got the image as my desktop background.

I'm afraid there aren't many lochs with monsters (unless you count the wee flying, biting kind). The only one of note is Loch Ness, some 250 miles north of here

Pat - every time :)

Stinkypaw - the best time of year to visit Scotland is May. The weather tends to be at its most pleasant and the midges haven't yet gathered in great numbers

Restaurant Gal said...

I used to be the target of any biting creature within 10 miles. This made it tough to enjoy the great outdoors in the mountains, at the shore, or even in my back yard! And then my daughter entered the mix. Turns out, the critters love her more. I try to keep her close by when it comes time to picnic :)

debra said...

we have no-see-ums here in NE Ohio---the ones that bite and run. We also have midges--generally in May or so. They swarm down from Canada and coat the air. They are a nuisance, but don't bite.

Z said...

Just to lower the tone - in Norfolk, most people call them midgets!

Sandy said...

Lovely Pictures Kim, Has to be said that Galloway really doesn't do to badly on the looking nice front. Quite amazed with the weather there's been when I've been there for the last wee while that you've found some sun let alone a premier division sunset.
Continued luck in your battle against the midges and see you on Friday at the Gordon House perhaps.


Conan Drumm said...

Beautiful pics, Kim.

I'm thinking those might be gnats (small mosquito-like flies) rather than midges (tiny, pin-head sized flies). They love damp warm cloudy days and feast on me every chance they get.

problemchildbride said...

Gorgeous pictures!

The worst bite I ever had was on the leg from a cleg. It tormented me and itched like mad for months, I'm not kidding. The bite didn't fade for about a year but I had an area of discoloured, damaged (from scratching) skin around it for much longer.

Mary Witzl said...

We use Shoo -- it really works!

And that sunset is beautiful. We saw one driving back from Dalbeattie last night.

MikeP said...

Was hoping this post ended with sighting something a bit bigger than midges. Which loch was this again? Loch Bigfoot?

Kim Ayres said...

Restaurant Gal - maybe this is the solution to your guy problems. Make sure your 1st date is to somewhere the biting flying creatures swarm. If he gets all the bites you can think about a 2nd date :)

Debra - you must have one of the other midge breeds. Unfortunately it's the biting ones which are prevalent round here.

Z - being bitten by midgets sounds like more of a sociological problem than a biiological one...

Sandy - not sure about Friday yet, but will try and make it along

Conan Drum - I refuse to get involved in biological categorisation arguments. But if you want to end up in a bare knuckle fight then try telling Dr Maroon that Scottish Midges are merely gnats

Sam - oh clegs are the very worst. I hate 'em. Fortunately they don't swarm, but their bites are appalling. I had one on the shoulder once and thought it was never going to go away. Torture.

Mary - you need to be driving north or north-west to really enjoy them at this time of year. If you'd have been driving to Dalbeattie instead you'd have missed it

Mike P - to be honest, 40,000 midges are more terrifying than one bigfoot, although I don't know whether citronella keeps bigfoots away - any personal experience you can share?

Carole said...

This makes me yearn for a trip to Scotland. Keep the pictures coming.

cmae said...

As soon as I saw the full-screen photo, I felt instantly relaxed. There's something about mountains and water that is so calming and grounding. Beautiful.

Kim Ayres said...

Carole - Just make sure you're not allergic to citronella :)

Cmae - at least the midges can't bite you through thecomputer screen :)

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