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Housey Crags

Housey Crags

It’s the flies that get you in the end. Rain has never bothered me. Coats made of modern waterproof fabrics are excellent barriers to whatever the elements can throw at a person (when they aren’t accidentally left in the car that is).

I don’t even mind the strong winds that seem a permanent feature of certain parts of Northumberland. But the flies. How do you cope with them?

The walk up to Housey Crags in Northumberland’s Cheviot Hills is a pleasant stroll most times of the year. However, come the summer and the route becomes alive with midges, mozzies and other creatures of the biting persuasion. I’ve tried everything. Sprays. Creams. Chemicals banned by most civilised societies. On one occasion even taking my wife along as a distraction for the blighters. Nothing seems to work. Harassment by a black cloud of insects intent on nibbling at bare flesh seems to be the price that needs to be paid to visit such a photogenic place.

Which, putting a brave if somewhat blotchy, bitten face on the situation, is probably a good thing. At least it feels like a real achievement once the photograph has been successfully captured. I may not have braved fierce lions or man-eating sharks to get the shot, but I did suffer for my art, even if just a little bit. I earned this image. And that has to be good for the soul. If not ultimately my facial complexion.