Surviving the MIDGE !
Updated: Oct 21, 2020
I recently read a post in must-see-scotland.com (which is incidentally one of the funniest and best informed blogs about this great country) in which the writer told us of his experiences with the wee beastie called the midge.
And I just want to share with you a quote from wikipedia about this curse of nature, because to avoid midges, you need to know a bit about them.
Female highland midges are well known for gathering in clouds and biting humans, though the majority of the blood they obtain comes from cattle, sheep and deer .(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_midge)
They are, of course, completely and utterly wrong, because from my humble experience they in fact obtain all their blood from people. Venturing outside in late summer is akin to donating the precious, life-giving liquid in one's veins to a horde of very small phlebotomists who don't bother to swab the area first - and don't even bother to queue. It seems as though anyone who is brave enough to be outside at the wrong time of day is holding an invisible sign that says 'free lunch here'.
If you don't believe me, take a look at this post ( https://must-see-scotland.com/midges-in-scotland ) and a photo of the writer's hat COVERED in midges. So as far as avoiding midges is concerned, you really don't stand a chance.
Of course there are about as many over-the-counter remedies as there are in a cloud of these things and all of them work to a greater or lesser degree. However there are all sorts of other things you can try, including using marmite to avoid midges.
Now before you smear this brown goo all over your body thinking that it will work, please don't - you are supposed to eat it ! And this is because the little critters apparently don't take too well to vitamin B1 in your bloodstream. Garlic is also lauded as one of many anti-midge ingredients as are catnip and citronella - these last two you DON'T eat.
Finally, white or light-coloured clothing can apparently work, as do midge nets; quite simply a net with tiny holes that stops them getting to your skin. A useful website can be found at https://www.woodlandherbs.co.uk.
So if, on your travels around the highlands you see a small group of fellow hikers in bright white clothing, frantically trying to eat garlic dipped in marmite forced through the nets covering their heads, their citronella earrings blowing gently in the breeze and followed by several hundred cats, be afraid.
Be VERY afraid...