Hairy coos, glens, lochs and midges

Ok, who thinks that ostrich is the best costume/fancy dress ever?! I mean, you’d get a back ache but totally worth it, right?

So, if you’re not Scottish, haven’t spent time in Scotland or don’t have Scottish friends/family then chances are you’re slightly confused about this blog post’s title. But that’s one of the great things of living in Scotland. You can have the benefit of living in another country that speaks English and sometimes it can feel like you’re listening to a foreign language when you come across some thick regional accents and/or Scottish words. I’ve lived here for nearly six years and sometimes I still can’t tell if someone is speaking English.image Hairy coos, glens, lochs and midges are Scottish words and in mid-June, my friends and I headed northwest to the Argyll region of Scotland to experience these. Argyll is between a 2.5-3 hour car journey from Edinburgh but it’s worth it as we travelled through some of the most amazing countryside – including Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. image We headed just past Loch Fyne for FyneFest – a weekend in a glen (a valley) surrounded by stunning hills. Loch Fyne is known for its amazing oysters and salmon so if you’re into seafood – go! The festival featured craft beers from around the UK and abroad, great food and local bands throughout the two days. To make the most of the fest, we decided to camp for the weekend.

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That’s when we experienced the midges (pronounced mid-jes). For nearly 6 years I’ve heard about the dreaded midges – small black insects that look like gnats –  the antagonist to the gorgeous west coast scenery. By the end of the weekend the score was: Midges: 1,000 bites; Me: fail.

imageGrowing up in humid Ohio summer weather (often 28-32 degrees Celsius/80-90 degrees Fahrenheit with 80-100 percent humidity) I was used to mosquitoes, deer flies and horse flies that leave bites. But at least you can hear them coming and they’re big enough to smack. Midges stealth bomb you with red welts that itch insanely whenever you overheat (beware hot showers and exercising!) for over a week after you’ve been bitten. The only thing that deters the little horrors is spray. My colleagues swear by Avon’s Skin So Soft as a midge repellent so if you come to the west of Scotland – arm yourself with it. image On the Saturday we spent the day walking 10km on a dusty dirt trail through the Argyll countryside. Small herds of hairy coos (a nickname for the Highland Cow, a breed that was created in the Scottish Highlands and the Western Isles) and baby coos roamed near and on the dirt paths, looking blasé. I died over that baby coo even if he didn’t care that I was in front of him.

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Our trail followed a burn (Scottish for creek) and we climbed over bridge railings to make it to the burn where we enjoyed a chilled dip.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing in the glen, enjoying some craft beer, people watching and playing with the friendliest dog who liked to play fetch with grass. No joke – this pup thought grass was the coolest thing ever.

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We headed home on Sunday but not before we stopped by Loch (lake) Lomond. It was slightly overcast but with rolling hills and clear water it was still striking. Definitely a must-see when you’re in Scotland.

imageHave you experienced Scottish glens, lochs, burns, midges or hairy coos? Share your experiences in the comment section below. I’d love to hear your stories! Oh and check out some more Scottish/British words here.

Back soon lovelies x

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6 thoughts on “Hairy coos, glens, lochs and midges

  1. I’ve yet to see someone who’s ever travelled across the country or up to the Highlands without being bitten by midges! Avon’s Skin So Soft is no secret, even Scottish men swear by it and have no problems admitting they have some! I got one after I got bitten so many times on the face in Ullapool, I got annoyed and frustrated, I couldn’t even enjoy my seafood dinner. Now that I’ve got a bottle, we haven’t been travelling far enough for my secret weapon to be used.

  2. Oh no! Being bitten on the face must have been horrible! I was lucky enough to only get bites on my arms and legs and thought that was bad.

    Was surprised to hear that Avon’s Skin So Soft works on midges as the mosquitoes in Ohio have become immune to it! Glad to hear you’re prepared. Can just imagine you getting ready for midge war with your secret weapon. x

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