Outer Hebrides

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Outer Hebrides

Postby unreachablerich » Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:10 pm

I'm heading to the Outer Hebrides on a solo mission in August for the month to do some camping/exploring/surfing/walking/fishing/photography.

Just wondering whether anybody has any suggestions/tips/hints/advice on things to do/see/try whilst i'm up there?!

I'm aware that this post may be a sensitive issue for some people and my intention is not to start a public discussion, but if you've got anything you'd like to contribute then please feel free to PM me rather than post it on here!
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby danny1 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:37 pm

you will have a great time no doubt. have you transport?
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby Le Perit » Sun Jan 22, 2012 1:16 pm

Uk footprint guide's good. Not busy up there do you don't need secret spots. Lots of friendly peeps up there as well. Still the best surf trip I've done.
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby Chris F » Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:12 am

Use the search facility on here - top right. Been loads of threads.

Best advice for August is take some decent midgie spray, and a head net. They can be brutal.

For doing all those activities it would be difficult to choose a better place. You plan travelling the whole length of the islands.
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby unreachablerich » Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:27 am

Yes, i've got transport. Not concrete plans yet but i'm up for getting to as many of the outer isles as i have time for.

Are the midges really that bad? Does DEET based spray work on them?!
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby Chris F » Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:48 am

If you have never experienced the Scottish Midge in full glory it's something to behold. I've had experince of them in N Wales and the Peak & Yorkshire Moors but never knew how bad they could be until I moved to Scotland. Skye and the far NW are probably the worst I have experienced, but in the right (wrong) conditions they can be bad anywhere. They aren't that bad on the coast, as there is often a breeze and they don't like bright sunshine, but can be bad in evening time. We had a week camping on N Uist and they were only really bad one evening though.

DEET is supposed to work, as is NEEM oil, and Bog Myrtle Extract, but can't say they are guaranteed as it seems to be more down to how the individual tastes. Apparently they really don't like Vitamin B (i think) which is in high concentrates in yeast and marmite, but again this might be apocryphal.

Best take a headnet and have a tent with a decent net. You might be OK, but they are definitely something to be aware of.
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby Obelix » Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:08 pm

Yeah, I'll second that re the midges.

I'm a forestry worker in Scotland, and in the summertime they're enough to make a person loopy.

I'll take mosquitoes any day of the week over a midge. The devil's work those little critters.
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby Sheepy » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:22 pm

Avon skin so soft spray works well as a midge repellant - the citronella seems to put them off. A lot of the camping shops on the west coast sell it, sometimes at a crazy mark up, but is also available online....
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby Chris F » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:18 am

Apparently the more recent ASSS stuff has less of the stuff midges don't like so is less effective than it used to be.
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby rodent » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:23 am

In the outer hebs no one will hear you scream :lol:

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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby Sheepy » Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:35 pm

Chris F wrote:Apparently the more recent ASSS stuff has less of the stuff midges don't like so is less effective than it used to be.

Good to know Chris - cheers. Will use my stash of old stuff more sparingly now I know this!
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby ATTMFKH » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:23 pm

Chris F wrote:Apparently the more recent ASSS stuff has less of the stuff midges don't like so is less effective than it used to be.


I have conducted a clinical trial on this stuff ........ last year up at TD, studied what they actually do to a naked arm covered in Skin so Soft - they still land on you , crawl all over you in theeir thousands, but their wee probiscii get clogged up with the oil in the stuff so they eventually hone into another source of CO2 ......... reckon anything oily on your skin will stop them biting , if you can stand them crawling on you .....

Vitmain B supplements as was said earlier....

Ancient Highland torture for adulterous females was to strap them naked to a post on a moor and let the midges do their work :?

Midges cost the Scottish tourist industry 10's of millions per year........

Forestry Commission is the largest user of midge repellent in the UK......

Midges are hideous :evil:
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby Chris F » Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:31 am

yeah, my experience too. The ASSS stops them biting, but then they drown in the stuff, and you end up with a layer of oil and dead midges all over you. Plus they still swarm around you before landing, and get in your eyes, ears, etc.

A friend of mine was conducting proper experiments based out at Lochgilphead trying to figure out why it is that some people have something in them that means midgies don't like biting them. It involved all sorts of crazy stuff; putting volunteers in foil bags and condensing their "essence" and having midgies flying up and down tubes and seeing if they would fly towards one smell or another. She was getting close to finding something when the sponsors withdrew funding. Genius.
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby rodent » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:10 pm

The Scottish climbing guides have midge ratings, with some areas classed as no go areas :shock:
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby Chris F » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:25 pm

yeah the old Howett guide used to. If you know what their weaknesses you can usually work around them though;

They are tiny and crap flyers so are grounded in anything higher than 10 mph winds, so if you are there in midgie season head for coastal areas where there is often a breeze, like exposed seacliffs or beaches. Alternatively go high and aim for buttresses or ridges, which is fine for climbing, althout approach walks can be nasty.

They also don't like sunlight, so on bright sunny days you are usually fine, but shafted if it clouds over, and once the sun goes down. They also struggle to fly when the air is thin, so if relative humidity is low, again on hot dry days you can be OK. They also can't fly in the rain, but then climbing in the rain isn't much fun either. Just before and just after rain when there is still dampness in the air they can be brutal though, esp if its overcast. East coast they are generally not as bad, although I have experienced them in the evenings on the seashore, and even occasionally in my back garden!

Basically though, they are cunts. End of.
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby roberdy » Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:30 pm

Chris F wrote:yeah the old Howett guide used to. If you know what their weaknesses you can usually work around them though;

They are tiny and crap flyers so are grounded in anything higher than 10 mph winds, so if you are there in midgie season head for coastal areas where there is often a breeze, like exposed seacliffs or beaches. Alternatively go high and aim for buttresses or ridges, which is fine for climbing, althout approach walks can be nasty.

They also don't like sunlight, so on bright sunny days you are usually fine, but shafted if it clouds over, and once the sun goes down. They also struggle to fly when the air is thin, so if relative humidity is low, again on hot dry days you can be OK. They also can't fly in the rain, but then climbing in the rain isn't much fun either. Just before and just after rain when there is still dampness in the air they can be brutal though, esp if its overcast. East coast they are generally not as bad, although I have experienced them in the evenings on the seashore, and even occasionally in my back garden!

Basically though, they are cunts. End of.


Take the fucking anorak off Chris!! You should write a book mate, albeit a short book, you might sell millions! Anyway, I second third and fourth the whole midgie thing, they are brutal little fuckers, I recall waking up in a tent on Skye, you could hear the little bastards forming up in squadrons outside preparing for the first tiny amount of open zip to fly in and annoy the shit out of you. Quite funny watching the southerners doing the midgie shuffle though :)
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby unreachablerich » Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:51 pm

So midges aside. What's the swell consistency really like? I'm not sure I believe the hype.

Anyone spent a decent period of time up there?
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby Chris F » Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:28 am

roberdy wrote:Take the fucking anorak off Chris!! You should write a book mate, albeit a short book, you might sell millions!


I learnt all this from the lass who was doing the midgie experiments in the earlier positng. All useful knowledge though.

We were on N Uist for a week in mid August a few years back. Surfed every day, although a couple of the days were onshore and very messy. Had two storms come through in that time, one of which just about trashed the tent, the other we retreated to the hostel in Lochmaddy. The other days were good though. I have heard of flat spells over that period though; look at the historical data on MSW Forecasts and compare it to your local break to give you some idea.

Can you put off the trip until a bit later in the year; late Sept maybe? Midgies won't be as bad, and swell a bit more consistent.
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby danny1 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:56 pm

whole cloves of garlic. daily
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby Ozric » Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:54 pm

A couple of years ago spent the first two weeks of July travelling up around Orkney, Lewis, the Uists, then Barra and had no waves at all.
That being said, a friend did the trip in reverse the following two weeks and had waves most days. Just your luck really. Stunning place and well worth a visit before ye die.
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby surfrat » Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:58 pm

Just to ressurect this thread:
Has anyone flown with boards to Stornoway? I see you can hire 4x4s in stornoway too and vans.

i was thinking flying bristol to glasgow then rent a van then drive/ferry to Lewis/Harris for a week. this seems the most cost effective way and cuts out the boring bit of the drive. what thoughts do you all have?
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby Chris F » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:52 am

Sounds like a plan. Flying direct from Bristol to Glasgow would be less faff than two flights to Stornaway? You could then do a shop in Glasogw and stock up on essentials before getting ferry from Oban (to Barra) and then do a trip up through the N & S Uist and surf some of the good spots along the way (as and when conditions allow). Worth printing out forecasts for reference though, I think 3G signal is "limited" (although may have improved since we were there a few years back).

Won't be cheap mind, might be better to just bite the bullet and drive if you have a suitable vehicle and someone to share driving? Can get to Glasgow / Oban in less than a day.
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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby surfrat » Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:20 pm

second thoughts are: rent a minibus here and drive it up with 4 or 5 peeps. will be cheaper than all paying 100 for a flight. just drive in shifts overnight. then we can decide on the spot between north coast, hebs, tiree or east coast. can fill up with boards and camping stuff then too.

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Re: Outer Hebrides

Postby Chris F » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:15 am

Much better option. Trust me you are unlikely to be bothering many folk in the water. Except at Brimms maybe, which will be a zoo if its good anyway.
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