If you are planning to venture into the Highlands of Scotland between May and the start of September you have a good chance of experiencing midges. These are tiny little biting insects that leave most people feeling rather itchy. The severity can vary widely with some people only finding them to be a minor annoyance to others who are attacked by huge swarms of midges finding that their holiday has been ruined by them. To really experience them at their worst, go out on a mild, wind-free evening on the west coast and sit in one place. They will find you and once a few have started on you more will follow until they become unbearable.
As with most things though, being prepared can help stop midges spoiling your holiday.
Stay in the Breeze
Now we could never say avoid the Highlands of Scotland but keeping away from places where the air is still can help. Midges can stay airborne until the wind is around 5 mph. So don’t hang about in sheltered spots waiting for them. Walk out in the open on ridges and out of the trees.
Midge head nets and midge tops. The barrier method is very effective but can leave you looking like a beekeeper. With socks tucked in, jacket done all the way up, sleeves fastened tight and a mesh midge net over your head you are inpenetrable. However it is hard to sip a glass of wine with any class through a mesh hood.
Find out what the forecast is before heading outdoors. http://www.midgeforecast.co.uk
DEET, Jungle Formula, Shoo, Avon Skin So Soft. There are loads of potions out there that repel midges to a greater or lesser extent. Many people find Avon Skin So Soft does an amazing job of keeping midges at bay. Carefull with stronger DEET based preparations around anything plastic (watch faces etc). Although they work great on the midges, they can melt plastic.
Midge Candles & Coils
Citronella candles and mosquito coils. These can have a reasonable effect on reducing midges in confined spaces – tent awnings etc but are of limited use in open spaces. The citronella certainly smells nice though.
Midge Eating Machines
Many hotels and campsites have installed midge munching machines that attract midges from the area round about them then suck em into a bag and imprison them. These work wonders in many locations. Ask your campsite or hotel if they’ve got one before you go.