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Midge advice and where to buy repellent/hood

My husband and I are flying to Edinburgh in early June and will be staying a few days before we get our rental car and drive across the Highlands and also visit Skye (5-night road trip). We have read of the misery of the midges, and our mosquitoes back home REALLY like me, so we want to be prepared.

1) realistic experience as to how bad the midges typically are in the first week of June? We plan to drive and stop, and just do short hikes (<30 minutes) from the car before driving again, so we are hoping we aren’t too vulnerable. We DO plan to do the longer hikes on Skye (Storr and Quirang).

2) we think it would be most convenient to buy repellent and maybe a hood during our days in Edinburgh. Where can we easily buy these items? Would we need a hood for our type of short hikes?

Posted by
1027 posts

In my experience June is no where near as bad as July and August.
That said if you happen on a warm still overcast day ,which will happen, they midges will quickly make thier presense known.
Midges make mosssies look like beautiful can be that bad without protection.
Any big outdoors store will have the stuff you need
Blacks or Decathalon being notable.
If you are heading up the A82 the famous Green Welly rest stop can provide what you want too.

I have seen midge hoods for sale in Braemar,Lochinver,Fort William, Portree and Aviemore

Posted by
1130 posts

Cotswold outdoors and Mountain Warehouse both stock the nets and have shoips in Edinburgh.

In June they are only just 'getting going'. The midges are worse near water and especially in wooded areas. They aren't too much of a problem if there is a lot of wind around. They aren't too bad if you keep moving, but as soon as you sit down they will appear.

Posted by
2091 posts

I wouldn’t want to waste my precious travel time shopping/hunting for these items in Scotland. I would buy them before you leave home. You can buy the hoods at many sporting goods stores in the US. We bought ours at Big 5. The hoods weigh next to nothing and cost less than $5 each. You can also buy small containers of insect repellent here or wipes. Our hoods are already packed in our luggage for our upcoming trip to Scotland in August.

Posted by
240 posts

Avon's Skin so Soft is the best repellent (bizarre as it sounds), not sure if you can still get it though. We bought some at the Sligachan Hotel on Skye under advisement from the barman. Worked better than other options we tried.
We bought our midge masks at Raasay House on the Isle of Raasay. But I have seen similar in outdoor shops here in Australia so I imagine you can get them in a local outdoor shop before you go.
Take face/head protection and long pants long sleeves with you in a day pack when hiking. They were mostly a problem late in the day into the evening. I am guessing they don't like the sun. Also seem more prevalent in well vegetated areas. We were in the Highlands in mid/late August. I think probably peak midge season. We had no issues on most of our daytime hikes, only once. We were nearly back to start after hiking Duncaan on Raasay. Through scrubby ground and it got very cloudy next thing we copped some, sun broke through and they were gone.
Don't let them put you off because you are heading to one magnificent part of the World.
Highlands, where else apart from Skye? Up over Bealach na ba to Applecross and up to Torridon?

Posted by
4962 posts

Avon's Skin so Soft is the best repellent (bizarre as it sounds), not sure if you can still get it though

It's still available, several friends swear by it as a tick repellant.

Posted by
809 posts

I prefer Smidge to Skin so Soft. Any outdoor shop in the highlands sells Smidge. The Green Welly certainly does (on the A82 north from Glasgow).

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks, Everyone! I appreciate the advice and shopping recommendations. I will report back in a few weeks when we return ✔️

Posted by
248 posts

Avon Skin So Soft --- absoLUTELY.

We've used it in Asia, Africa, Caribbean islands, Central America -- and now it'll go with us to Scotland...

We only just heard about the midges, so my wife placed an order with a local Avon rep who who told her the performers in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo festival wear it as a matter of course.

It's got a pleasant fragrance (that now makes me think about our travels whenever I catch a whiff), and isn't a bug repellent -- though it works like a charm.

I originally heard about it from an avid duck hunter who swore by it.

Posted by
159 posts

I was told to buy Avon Skin So Soft Original Bath that correct? Do you need to put it everywhere or just exposed areas?

Posted by
240 posts

Cindy I just used it on exposed areas. I did a lot of running so used it on legs, arms and face (away from eyes and mouth when out in shorts and tshirt. The little buggers only come out in their favourable conditions. If those conditions occur best to put on midge mask long sleeved jacket, thick trousers and even gloves. I took my lycra running gloves and would put them on too.
Usually they only bothered us at dusk. We did get caught out hiking through scrub on the descent of Duncaan. Cloud came in, we were in a spot sheltered from the breeze and bang a squillion midges attacked. The Skin so Soft offered reasonabl protection. They covered our arms, legs and face but hardly bit us. 2 minutes later sun's out, breeze returns and they were gone.