Scottish Midge

There are only two things more feared in Scotland than the midge, a Bay City Rollers reunion and a new series of The Krankies.  Regrettably the first one has already happened, apparently M&S sold out of tartan thongs within ninety minutes of the press release. Thankfully The Krankies are very unlikely to ever get a new TV show.  Did you know they recently confessed to being “swingers” in their heyday? No wonder I gave up the golf.

My wife and I drove two hours on Saturday evening to Crarae Garden, a National Trust for Scotland property near Inveraray.  I had been looking online for some nice gardens and woodland to try out some ideas (photography that is) and this place was new to me so despite the distance it looked perfect, especially as we wouldn’t need to pay the £6.50 per person admission fee, being NTS members.  Every little helps.

Crarae is an “exotic Himalayan style woodland garden” on the banks of Loch Fyne. After visiting I think they should rename the place. Midgeland would be far more appropriate as it was a bloody theme park for midges; I was the like the big dipper, ducking and diving to try and avoid swallowing a swarm of the mini vampires, meanwhile my wife was spinning around like a waltzer, swinging my tripod about fending them off. (Twenty years earlier in our marriage and she may have been the tunnel of love but that’s a whole other blog).

In hindsight using a manual focus lens in this environment may not have been the best idea, however I did manage to invent a new photography technique, MICM, or Midge Induced Camera Movement. Basically you compose the shot, wait a split second for a couple of million midges to land on your head/hands/lens hood, then flick your hand to remove said midges whilst pressing the shutter. Two things to look out for, 1) keep your mouth closed at all times, and 2) Make sure your movement is not too enraged, otherwise you end up with streaky shots of the sky and ground caused by swinging the camera wildly above your head.  You can find a few samples of the technique below (and some NMICM shots). Not sure if it will catch on, however I’m thinking of contacting Outdoor Photography to see if they’re interested in a follow up feature to Doug Chinnery’s great piece in this month’s edition.

1)Crarae ICM -2

2)Crarae ICM -1

3)Crarae ICM -4

4)Crarae ICM -3

5)Crarae ICM -5

6)Crarae ICM -6

7)Crarae Normals -4

8)Crarae Normals -16

9)Crarae Normals -7

10)Crarae Normals -1

11)Crarae Normals -12

12)Crarae Normals -14

13)Crarae Normals -3

14)Crarae Normals -2

And finally No. 15, actually from earlier in the week, but fits the theme, a midge dancing in the light above my head during a woodland wander. Hand held manual focus capture at F2.5.

Dancing Midge River Ayr Woods


Thanks for reading.

One thought on “Midgeland”

  1. thank you so much, I have laughed out loud, glad I’m home alone. I too experienced the wrath of the midge at CCC walled garden site at Balcardine end of June. four nights was enough time to to change my looks from aged but still healthy complexion to a suppurating mass of lumps. I didn’t go unnoticed, queues seemed to disappear on site and there was soon an empty table in any eating place. my partner took advantage of me, so to speak, telling people I wasn’t contagious and was receiving treatment, with not a mention of midges. was so happy go reach the isolation of Skye

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