Attack of the Midges!

As if we haven’t been walking enough on this trip, today we decided to go for three walks in the woods! Every indication was that Glen Affric was not to be missed, and every indication was right. It was gorgeous.

Driving out to the glen, our first stop was Dog Falls.

Dog Falls

The trail to the falls was about a half mile, and it hugged the river for much of the way.

river to Dog Falls

river to Dog Falls

Steve at Dog Falls

Anne at Dog Falls

Our next stop was the River Affric walk, and it was just amazingly lovely. All of my favorite scenery I’ve seen so far has involved the gorgeous mixture of purple, tan, and greens on the hillsides of the highlands, and this area had it in spades.

River Affric walk

River Affric walk

River Affric walk

It also ran along the river (duh) and had a beautiful little waterfall.

River Affric walk

Anne on River Affric walk

Steve on River Affric walk

River Affric walk

After our walk, we sat down for a little lunch that began at a picnic table and ended in our car. This was where we truly discovered the Highland Midge. We had encountered them at the Dog Falls trailhead, but they didn’t bug us along the river, so our encounter had been blessedly brief. However, they swarmed us as we ate our sandwiches, driving us quickly to the shelter of our car. I’m sorry, but the gnats in Illinois and California don’t bite! I understand from Steve that No-see-ums are just as pesky as midges, but this was my first experience with this menace.

They are much more annoying than mosquitos in the way dozens of them swarm around you and the tiny beasties get all up in your grill. The one way in which they are better is that you don’t have to chase them down like mosquitos; just wait for the biting sensation and blindly smush a dozen of them.

A few days earlier, while we were at Culloden, I had smirked at the audio tour talking about Bonnie Prince Charlie’s 5 months on the run and all the trials he had to endure, “including midges”. I had smirked out of ignorance. Now I understand the pure hell he must have experienced.

Anyway, after lunch, we began our drive to the other side of the glen, stopping along the way for a couple of quick road-side waterfall photos.

road-side waterfall in Glen Affric

road-side waterfall in Glen Affric

Our final walk of the day was to Plodda Falls, the highest waterfall in Scotland. The wooden overhang above the falls was neat and had an interestingly dizzying view of the base of the falls, but didn’t provide a great view of the falls themselves.

Plodda Falls

So, we headed down the path, all the while knowing we’d have to make our way back up.

Plodda Falls

But it was worth it. I kept the hood of my rain jacket up most of the time which did seem to confuse the midges enough that they only swarmed me in the moments it was down for the photo ops.

Anne at Plodda Falls

Steve at Plodda Falls

In the evening, we headed to Hootananny for dinner, having made our reservation the night before. There was to be live music starting at 9:30, so we ate slowly and had dessert, but it was still difficult to make it to when they actually started at 10:00 after the long day we had. But I woke up well enough once the high-energy music started. It was the Nick Firth Trio and they were fantastic! I did a quick look online to see if there might be albums available, but didn’t see any. I’ll have to look again back home to see what I can find.

Nick Firth Trio at Hootananny

Such a lovely day on our Scottish experience.