Here in the north of Scotland we have been having a bit of a dry spell. Well more than a bit. We haven't had significant rain since at least April. This has had a few undesirable effects. The rivers are showing their bones, there is very little water in them. The loch are getting so warm fish are too stressed to fish for. Worse still we are seeing large blooms of blue green algae. At least one persons dog has died as a result of this.
The dry weather has lead to a huge emergence of cleggs. The horsefly, or clegg as it is known hereabouts is an evil critter. It has sawing mouth parts, and its bite hurts a lot. I would compare it to being stabbed with a red hot needle. They are also filthy insects. A friend of mine spent about 18 ours out on the hill, walking and camping out as part of a Mountain Leadership Course. She suffered 82 clegg bites. I am on standby to drive her to hospital if her condition worsens.
As if all this isn't bad enough we have a forest fire raging. Now I know many of you live in areas that suffer huge forest fires. You need to remember they are so rare here I have never seen one before. I've been out and taken these photos at midnight last night (yes this is the middle of the night here at this time of year).
Golspie is a village of about 1500 people, on the east coast of Sutherland. It is at the foot of Ben Bhraggie. Anyone who knows anything about Scottish history will have heard of the Highland Clearances. These were initiated by the first Duke of Sutherland. His statue is on top of Ben Bhraggie. That is the monument you can see atop the hill in one of these shots.
My good friend, and boat fishing partner, Mike lives out that end of the village with his family. The fire got to within 100 yards of his home. Fire fighters prevented the fire jumping the track behind his house. For those of us in the village proper we're under a huge bank of smoke, but no danger from the fire.
Right now some rain would be very, very welcome.