(Picture from Scotsman.com)
Apparently, they are quite a problem and not something the tourism bureau often mentions. Well, one in particular called the Highland Midge or Culicoides impunctatus (which just begs for a cartoon rendering of a midge in a kilt) is the culprit. Undiscovered Scotland has an interesting page about these midges here, with a link to the Midge Forecast (which is closed for the winter but will reopen when the midges are back…sort of like the swallows to Capistrano…well, OK, alike in that they both fly). June to August are the worst months.
Because it is found in such dense populations, it is estimated that in some parts of Scotland, a single hectare of land can host up to 50 million midges. That is a similar number to the total human population of the whole UK. This means the equivalent of ten midges for every man, woman and child in the whole country.
I found out about the midges through this old story from the BBC News which talkes about the “splatometer.”
Now clap you hands along to the fabulous Midgie Song, which I just love!