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This seemingly innocent, Scanda-wegian-looking landscape hides a ghastly plague
The common Scottish midge is capable of causing at least as much misery as any other animal on earth. Many's the time I've been fishing and would have happily accepted a crocodile emerging from the river's depths and clamping onto my leg if it only meant that the flying dentistry would leave me alone.
Smoking incessantly is one remedy, although it leaves one's windward side open to infestation. Covering oneself with Avon's Skin So Soft (as used by Her Majesty's forces when on manoevers in the tropics) is another. A third option is to drink a bottle of wine so stunning that one forgets all about the wee beasties latching onto one's epidermis.
We stood high above Gaffer's, a pool on the Findhorn as midgy as it is hard to access and it wasn't long before these motes of satan's dandruff found us, well, me in particular, as I was wearing short sleeves and short trousers and was easy meat.
I cracked a bottle of 1999 white Beaucastel, a Chateauneuf-du-Pape in the full flow of its maturity. This is a food wine, not as in best consumed with food, but cut-it-with-a-knife sort of stuff. Honey and nut flavours in breadth and depth and a thick texture of highly concentrated loveliness. My mind was quite absorbed by it. The midges were forgotten, at least for the time being; just as well, perhaps. The saying goes that if you kill one, there'll be a million at the funeral.