Are you going on a Highland tour across Scotland between June and August? You won’t be the only ones looking for an evening snack or cool shade from the sun.
The Highland midge, known as culicoides impunctatus, is a nasty wee beastie no bigger than an adult fingernail. It's pronounced 'mij-ee' and has a bad reputation for causing irritation from their bites. And not only do their bites nip, but the midge fly in large swarms, so they also get in your eyes and mouth. Yuck!
Highland midge appear early springtime, and usually disappear around autumn. Unfortunately, most areas around the North and West of Scotland (probably the most picturesque areas), provide perfect conditions.
For example, the tall pine trees found in the Cairngorms National Park create a shelter from the sun and create a barrier to the strong winds, a midge haven.
The Highland midge are most active in temperatures of between 8 and 18°C, with wind speeds below 2.5 metres a second. Midge are also known to swarm around areas close to lochs and rivers, as they need damp conditions to lay their eggs.
The peak times for midge activity are in the early mornings and late evenings.
As we’re discussing summer months, firstly we would advise you to apply sunscreen and ensure that it’s completely dry before applying an effective midge spray. Trek Midge & Tick is a DEET-free repellent spray, made by Pyramid Travel Products, that can be used on areas of exposed skin. This repellent will protect you for up to 12 hours.
Another piece of wisdom to avoid midge bites is to never wear dark coloured clothing. Yes, we all love to wear black as it goes with literally everything, but midges are more attracted to dark coloured clothing. So instead, wear long-sleeved and lightly coloured clothing, perhaps a casual chiffon shirt and khaki trousers?
If you’re travelling to areas where you know the highland midge will be present, we recommend that you also wear a midge hat, for protection for your face and neck.
Now sit back, relax and let your Rabbie’s tour guide show you the highlights of this glorious country.