George Hendry - Midges in Scotland

Mercat Press £4.99
ISBN 1-873644-61-2

It seems unbelievable, but Midges in Scotland was first published in 1989 to rapturous acclaim, reprinted several times and has now made it to a triumphant second edition.

Sue Arnold, of the Observer, thought this tribute to the midge was fascinating reading ten years ago and she was right. There are 1200 species of biting midge, spread from the littoral of the Caribbean to the peaks of the Himalayas, although what the little swines find to do with themselves in between biting climbers on Everest escapes me. One species, Culicoides impunctatus, is responsible for 90% of midge attacks in Britain and the most aggressive members of the clan live in Scotland. The pregnant females are the worst and they all become hungry in the evenings, homing in by smell and by detecting temperature differences before pow! Repeated attacks lead to activation of the immune system, which explains why midge bites seem to get worse as the years go by. The only way to escape them is to avoid Scotland between mid-June and mid-September, eschew dark clothing, go out on windy evenings, or to live in a spacesuit. The other alternative is to stay indoors, read this book, and laugh at the little bastards as they throw themselves against the windows in a vain attempt to reach you.