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Midges in the Mighlands in May or June

We are planning our trip to Scotland in May to June. We are planning to do several hikes and have heard about the midges. Generally, when are they at their worst? thank you Annelle

Posted by
10119 posts

We were there in September one year and feared these creatures based on reputation. In reality, we saw nary a one! If it is at all breezy, they do not bother, and they are apparently crepuscular, i;e;, dawn and dusk. We never used a drop of repellant.

Posted by
5789 posts

Anecdotally we were in the West Highlands late May and didn't experience midges. (One visit is not statistically significant). Some rain, some sun but no midges.

For what it's worth:

When is midge season in Scotland?

Typically May until September.

Midges begin to emerge during May (usually mid-late May). These are
typically the non-biting boys. When the biting females arrive in
early June the season truly kicks off.
Traditionally, our largest
catches (in Midge Forecast traps) have always been the first week of
June. Midge season then runs until early/late September.

Posted by
30 posts

Thank you, this is exactly the info we were looking for!

Posted by
1888 posts

As well as midges: there are also cleggs , or horseflies, in Scotland.
I would still take repellant, and hope for the best!

Posted by
976 posts

Hi, Annelle,

Unfortunately, repellent doesn't deter clegs. They are nasty! Kevlar would be helpful, but given that it's expensive and uncomfortable to wear, your best bet would be to carry a long sleeved shirt with you when you're out hiking. They don't usually go for your face, but they'll find any exposed surface, usually your hands.

You'll find clegs mainly around farms and cattle. Fortunately, there aren't nearly as many of them as there are midges, so you possibly can hike for miles without encountering any of them. We've visited Scotland over 20 times, and we've only had one incident with clegs. Several with midges, though.

Good luck, and enjoy yourselves!

Posted by
5669 posts

So, you're from Colorado? That means you don't really know mosquitos in the way that those of us from Wisconsin and Minnesota do. :) I don't think that Midges are that much worse than mosquitos. They are just smaller. Like mosquitos they come out at dawn and dusk and when the weather is particularly still and muggy. I purchased a midgie hat in Edinburgh on one trip and have never gone to Scotland without it. My next layer of protection is long sleeves. My third layer is REI repellent--yes the DDT variant.

Now, the good news is that in 8 years of walking trips and 6 days of walking on each trip, I think I've used the midgie hat maybe a half dozen times. Once was on Harris, once near Loch Ness, once in the Cairngorms, and then three bonus places that I can't recall. :) So, the odds are that if you get your supplies and don't plan on hiking at dawn or dusk, you'll be okay.

I never ran into the other beastie that was mentioned. But, we tended to hike in non-farm areas. Note, non-sheep areas. The sheep are everywhere--or so it seems.