By: Blonde Two

If you were to closely examine the Two Blondes (we are pictured above doing some examining of our own), you would find that they are both currently covered in horrid insect bites.

Whilst on Exmoor, we fought a daily battle against insects of all shapes and sizes. There were the midges (with built in ‘people detectors’) who came in clouds in the evening, just when you wanted to sit outside and enjoy the cooler temperature. There were the ticks who hid in the grass, pounced on unsuspecting legs and crawled to unguarded patches of skin. But maybe worst this trip, were the horse flies.

Horse flies or clegs as we now like to call them (we found out via deep research, that there are lots of different types of horse flies) are nasty little blighters. Not blown away by the breeze like the midges, they hid, waiting to pounce as we climbed the hill to the minibus each day. On the hottest day, things got so bad that I walked up with only my mouth and cheeks exposed to the air. This technique didn’t work as I got very sweaty, attracting more and more Exmoor clegs, all of whom appeared to be able to bite through my clothing.

We tried Deet based products, which worked but left such a noxious chemical trail on our skin that we were worried about over-use. Deet, by the way, is apparently also very bad news for waterproofs and other outdoor gear.

We also tried Avon’s ‘Skin So Soft’; no Deet, pleasant smelling and effective, this seemed like the perfect solution but only for the evening, when it worked very well.  A warning though, exposure to strong sunlight of this oil-based product, led to a rash and yet more itching.

I would have experimented with ‘Smidge’ (available from Cotswold Outdoor), if I hadn’t left it at my Dad’s house. ‘Smidge’ worked brilliantly in Scotland; Six-Foot-Blonde handed a bottle to us as we passed through his place in Up-North on our way to the Cairngorms. “You’ll be needing this,” said the wise son who regularly canoes in Scotland. He was right, a pleasant smell, no nasty skin effects and it warded-off clouds of midges. I would have liked to have tested ‘Smidge’ on the Exmoor clegs, but I will leave that up to you. I am waiting until the winter for my next visit!