On our recent walk across the hills of the southwest corner of Ardnamurchan, which took us to the lost settlement of Raidh-dhail, we came across this excavation in a little glen close to the old houses. We think it's a wallow used by red deer stags, a reminder that, although we didn't see one all day, they're very much around.
We had another reminder. For the first time this year, we found two ticks on our skin, beasties which had probably been hiding in the heather having dropped off a passing deer. Although we always wear long trousers tucked into socks, these had got to our skin by crawling up our sleeves, where....
Lyme disease is the sort of ailment that seemed once to have been confined to tropical countries along with other horrors such a beri-beri, blackwater fever, bilharzia and rabies, but it's becoming increasingly common here - we know of someone in Tobermory who has recently been diagnosed with it. Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a very distinctive, circular skin rash called erythema migrans. Unless treated promptly, the disease can have devastating consequences.
After our recent experience, and with the timely warning from Tobermory, we're taking just a few extra precautions, including spraying our wrists with insecticide before we set out on our walks. One thing Lyme disease is not going to do is stop us walking across the beautiful landscapes of West Ardnamurchan.
There's more about Lyme disease here.