Adventure

A Game Of Three Halves: Advice Needed

Saturday was a game of, err… three halves. Apologies for the skewed mathematics in order to squeeze in a reference to the football. But basically I did three things; a 33km cycle in the rain in the morning, a shopping trip to the outdoor shops of Skipton in the afternoon and, of course, the football in the evening. It was good to see that England can finally win a game on merit. The cycling was nice (I do like a quality cycle in the rain), the football result satisfying (although I fear that if the Danes don’t knock them out on Wednesday, the Italians or the Spanish will prove too strong for them next Sunday) but it’s the shopping trip where I have questions. Not really about what I bought but about what I didn’t buy…

Here’s what was in my bag when I got back home:

Not the most exciting collection of items I agree. I did hesitate with the disposable hand warmers on environmental grounds (more one-use plastic when reusable ones are available) but the chap running the Trespass shop in Skipton was adamant that they were very effective and really did stay warm for many hours. The pack claims that may be eight hours although I remain skeptical. However, with a price tag of only £1.49 per pack, I was willing to give them a go. If I get to the Outer Hebrides this summer, I think I may need them.

It was my visit to Mountain Warehouse, however, that had me questioning to the point of not handing over my cash. They sell own-branded items of clothing that are treated with insect repellent and claim to “keep the bugs at bay“. They are “perfect for hot climates and midges at home“. Midges! That’s why I was so interested bearing in mind the planned cycling trip to the Hebrides in August (weather permitting…). But, just as with the hand warmers, I remain skeptical. Mountain Warehouse include in their range some Buff-style neck warmers that are also “anti-mosquito“. I seem to remember them claiming on the packaging that they were “90% effective“. Can this really be the case? The ‘mosquito repellent clothing‘ range can be seen on the Mountain Warehouse website although the neck warmers are not included online. The style of the clothing is more Dr. Livingstone than 21st century cyclist so I won’t be buying any of the shorts, shorts etc… but the neck warmers were pretty neutral in style and didn’t evoke thoughts of the British Empire traipsing through an African jungle. Interestingly Buff – the market leader in neck fashion – don’t appear to have gone down the anti-mosquito route in their range. Could this say something?

More generally, apart from avoiding the midge season altogether*, what are the best ways to keep midges at bay when visiting Scotland in the summer? Your thoughts would be appreciated.

(* I did manage to solve the midge problem on my last cycling trip to Scotland in 2014 by going there when the weather in August was cold and wet…)

AFTERNOON UPDATE: Not sure I’d be that happy cycling in this…

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Categories: Adventure, Cycling

7 replies »

  1. I found nothing that would dissuade the infernal pests from chowing down on me. I tried a couple of locally produced lotions with no success and I tried Skin-So-Soft which is supposedly what the SAS use on exercise but to no avail. I have been told that eating garlic helps, and eating Marmite is even better, but I have tried neither. I have also been told that neither makes a difference.

  2. Midges tend to vanish with a gentle breeze and the Outer Hebrides is infamous for its winds.

    @TimMcKenna5 has just finished 3 weeks cycling the Hebrides and didn’t see any midges.

    If the worst happens, try waving your parking ticket at them.

  3. Cover up Andrew and make sure you have a midge net.

    The anti mosquito claim on clothing is bollocks. It’s the bare skill and in your hair you need to worry about.

    Smidge, Jungle formula etc is equally useless.

    Also take an anti histamine tablet each day. They don’t stop you being bitten but they help bad reactions and lots of scratching.

    If you do get bitten their is an ammonia based formula which is very good.

    • Thanks. Useful information. You mirror my sceptical thoughts about the clothing. Anti-histamine tablets are a good suggestion; I used them after being eaten alive upon arrival in Pisa back in 2010. They certainly alleviated the symptoms.

What do you think?