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A MEL GIBSON TALE : the filming of braveheart VERSUS the rain and midges


The following story came about from giving some advise to a girl who went and travelled up the west coast for a few days

so i gave her some pointers about how to look after herself and which ” midge cream ” was the best as this story will tell ,

but first this is ” mel gibson’s ” account of how he survived filming ” braveheart ” in ” glen nevis in fort william ” in the

summer months coupled with directions of how to find where ” braveheart ” was filmed as you will read …


If you are camping or walking then make sure you use plenty of MIDGE CREAM because this is the worse time of year

for getting bitten by ” the midges ” which are like mosquitoes and believe me their bite is worse than you can believe cos

when ” mel gibson ” made ” ” braveheart ” in ” glen nevis in fort william ” it wasn’t just the rain he had to contend with

which was weird to him cos it was summertime when they recorded the early scenes in the glen that is overlooked by

” ben nevis ” the famous mountain …

Anyway when the film crew turned up in ” fort william ” they camped in ” glen nevis ” and put all their trailers in one of

the public carparks which is now known as ” braveheart carpark ” and filming began and what happened it rained for

days and on the trailer of the special edition of the film you see a clip of ” mel gibson ” wearing his braveheart outfit and

wig covered in a green rain mac whilst all the extras stand watching him dance in frustration in a puddle whilst laughing

hysterically as another afternoons filming is ruined …

In the interview he says : ” we came to the glen thinking it would be sunny cos its summer and the locals all said it was

good weather better than anywhere else in scotland but what happened it rained so bang goes our film schedule and then to

contend with this we have to put up with the midges and it got so bad that no cream worked on me or the crew so i shipped

in some ” avon cream ” by the crate and guess what the little blighters never came near us for the rest of filming so thank

you avon pity they couldn’t do anything about the rain ” …

” Anyway one afternoon i had a break from filming and decided to walk into the village so there i am in jeans , a rain mac

and boots and all the way along the glen people just passed me in their cars and the kids all waved but no one pulled over

and got out and said : ” hey your mel gibson ” so i was just enjoying the freedom of being free and as i got into the town i

saw a chemist so i went in looking for a few things and guess what my new found freedom didn’t last long i can tell you ” …

” As soon as i walked into the shop all the assistants started pointing and then people came running into the shop and

pointing and then running outside saying : ” mel gibson’s in the chemist ” and to make it worse the traffic warden guys

started peering through the windows and then i saw one of them radio for help cos in a couple of minutes as i was signing

autographs and having the odd picture taken a policeman came in the shop and stood and waited for everyone to leave the

shop and then he told me : ” it’s not a good thing to be on your own in the town next time either ask us for a police escort or

bring a minder ” , so as everyone left i just said ” thanks to everyone whose helping out on the filmset its appreciated ” …

” And the reason why i said that is because we decided to use the towns people cos we figured it’s not just good PR but it

was cheaper than bringing in hundreds of extras from england and secondly having people from the town made it a bit more

authentic cos i know everyone laughs at my accent so having people born “n” bred from the surrounding area made it a bit

more real and it put a few bucks in their pockets and thirdly having local shepherds , cattle herdsmen and women and

grooms and blacksmiths in the film cut down on a lot of time wasting cos they know the land and using their own animals

saved us a fortune in transportation fees so as much as i was ridiculed for my accent which when you’ve got a groin injury

from jumping from your horse everyday is the last thing you need their help and advice on the filmset was invaluable ” …

” So after leaving scotland we went to ireland to film some scenes and thought that the rain might hold but what happened it

rained there as well , it was one of the worse years of my life filming and producing ” braveheart ” and i only came away

with a 5 million dollar pay packet , whereas after getting back to los angeles i signed a 20 million dollar contract for a film

that was far less historical and iconic and i didn’t have to wear a rain mac ” …

So there you are in the words of ” mel gibson ” get some ” avon cream ” and you won’t get midge bites but you may need a

brolly and a rain mac instead …


If you want to stand on the set of ” braveheart ” where they filmed the early scenes then when you drive down ” glen nevis ”

you will if you drive slowly see the ” braveheart carpark ” on your right where all the trailers and extras were all camped

so you can drive in there and feel the hollywood vibes and if you carry on down the glen past ” the heritage centre ” on your

left you will begin to see the mountain of ” glen nevis ” on your left and on your right you will see ” a camping and caravan

park ” and if you drive past this you will see a ” youth hostel ” on your right and the entrance to ” the glen nevis walk ”

across the road …

If you carry on driving down ” the glen ” you will go over a small steel bridge with a waterfall on your right and if you look

to your left as you go over the bridge and down ” the glen ” you will see a huge grassy space on your left with lots of small

trees and that’s where they filmed ” the early scenes of braveheart ” with ” wallace ” as a child and the murder of

” murron ” who was wallace’s wife …

And to round out this tale as a way of the film crew and production company saying thank you to the local people of

” fort william ” for their help and support during filming they gave the ” fort william council ” a few hundred pounds to put

some gravel at one of the parking bays so people could get out come rain or shine and enjoy the view , but guess what even

though ” braveheart ” is an iconic film about ” scotland’s greatest hero william wallace ” when you get out of your car in this

parking bay there is no sign of a plaque or picture board saying ” braveheart was filmed here ” all there is is the gravel and

a rather shiny sheen to the grass if you can see it saying ” mel gibson and hollywood stood here ” , it seems like the local

council dismissed the film as unimportant and not worth capitalizing on as a tourist attraction but there you are and that is a

rap and take 5 everybody as they say in hollywood …


Well after the last little tale about ” mel gibson’s avon cream or spray ” it is needed cos the midges this time of year are bad

in the highlands particuarly inland from the coastline so if you are travelling you would be advised to stay away from

campsites that are 5 to 10 miles inland and those that are surrounded by dense forest and heather and gorse bushes cos the

midges are in their droves where people are so if you were camped in a site in a forest area then in the morning and

daytime without a fire or a barbeque smoking away then they will bite you no end so you’ll end up sitting in a hot tent all

day and night and that ain’t no fun in this weather i can tell you from experience …

When i was in fort william i went rough camping with a sleeping bag and kipped in the forest in ” glen nevis ” and washed

in the river in the glen but from 7 am to 10 pm the midges are relentless and sitting anywhere outdoors where trees , water

or open spaces were was useless cos they followed you everywhere so even when i washing in the river they came under the

bridge and started biting so in the end after speaking to some girls at the youth hostel at glen nevis i decided to head into the

town to get some peace and quiet away from the midges …

One thing a girl did say was her friend had been bitten so bad he ended up in hospital cos his legs swelled up with the bites

and they had to get some extra sprays and cream cos they were badly bitten on their arms and legs so they said the only

other way to get rid of them was to light a cigarette and blow smoke at them which becomes expensive but that’s one

solution in order to get rid of them …

Anyway for those who are going to camp then stay on the coastline and try and find campsites on the beach cos there are

lots of campsites up the west coast but i have stayed on a beach campsite and you can light a fire on the sand and there are

no midges or flies and bees and wasps are to a minimum due to the pollen and flowers being away from the sand and the

beach , so look in a camping guide book or on the internet for campsites on the coastline or farms that rent out tent space on

their land close to the sea cos thats beautiful just sitting on the beach at midnight with a lighted fire and no midges or flies

and these campsites are really cheap or are cheaper than inland campsites but there are no toilet facilities or showers but at

least you don’t have the midge problem but bathing in the sea or a stream can be a cooling experience in the heat so it’s your

choice …

One way of avoiding the midges is to go up into the mountains cos i found that as soon as you get into the cold mountain air

the midges cease to exist above a certain height so if you do manage to get up into mountains then you could try camping a

bit higher up away from the heat of the forest and rivers and that’s another way of avoiding getting bitten alive …

And if you try the ” avon cream ” which is tried and tested by ” mel gibson ” give that a go cos it stopped him getting bitten

on the set of ” braveheart ” and the crew so it must have something special in it if ” mel gibson ” quotes it as a healing

cream and it will save you having to buy a ton of different creams which as you will probably see don’t really work cos the

amount of people who end up in hospital each year covered in huge bites which get infected …

And the last resort you could try is by finding a hat with a fine mesh like a fishing net type of thickness to put on your head

if you can’t stand them round your face i’m sure camping shops might stock them and its the kind of thing that people wear

in jungles and forests in the tropics to keep mosquitoes away cos apparently they work if you’re a native which explains why

everyone heads out to spain and tenerife cos it ain’t got no midges … OLE …


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