Wild Camping. And The Dreaded Midge.

Posted on June 6, 2012

After the visit to the ghost town, we saddled up and hopped on the ferry to Tarbert, another seaside village, and after a last-minute change of plan brought on by the lack of public transport which we didn’t find out about till then, decided to embark upon the Kintyre Way, with a view to camping somewhere in the middle and continuing on to Arran the next day.

The trek was strenuous but made up for by the views we could see at the summit, but the romantic idea of wild camping I had in mind before the trip was almost immediately quashed by the descent of, literally, millions of midges whenever we needed to stop for the briefest amount of time.

Now midges are as inevitable a fact of life in Scotland during the summertime as rain is at, well, any time. But nothing could have prepared me for the kamikaze-like ferocity with which we were attacked by these miniscule insects; it was one of those things which, sadly, one has to experience first-hand in order to get a true impression.

We trekked as far as the daylight would allow before settling on a reasonable looking spot, and no sooner had we begun to set up camp than the midges scented our living bodies and moved in for the kill, resulting in a very speedy operation and a swift retreat into the tent; not to re-emerge till the next morning. Even then we had only enough time to spray, pack up and get the hell as far away from the midges as possible.

We made a brisk move towards the ferry, heading in towards Arran. By that point we were ready to call the whole trip a failure from the get-go and limp on home, but the lure of a nice-looking campsite in the sunshine was enough to keep us on for another night, so we duly set up camp there. This was a somewhat more pleasant experience, walking around a place which already had a special association, doing a spot of hillwalking, and taking pictures of the odd deer which would stray into the campsite.

But I still felt I had missed out on something; the joy of climbing up a mountainside and setting up temporary home surrounded by nothing but nature. Needless to say, we both survived our trip more or less in one piece, but hopefully one day, we’ll be able to get the “whole experience” of camping.

Until then, I’ll just try to write about that sort of thing as best I can.

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