No this is not a commercial for skin care products nor do I think that the readers of this blog have a problem with their skin, at least I hope not. Some of you might know by now that Islay has some amazing wildlife, but there are certain creatures which are not so pleasant, in fact they can be very annoying at times. I am talking about midges, the tiny flying insects that don't get a mention in the tourist brochures.
There are 130 species of Midges all over the globe, some of them are harmless and others have a nasty habit of biting mammals and people, specially those that live in Scotland. The two most common species on Islay are the Culicoides Obsoletus and Culicoides Impunctatus, also known as Highland Midge, both 1.6 mm long. The female midge needs blood for maximum fertility while the male midges feed on nectar. Although midges don't transfer any diseases, unlike ticks, their bite can be unpleasant and can cause an irritating itch afterwards. Midges especially like wet and uncultivated land, something Islay has plenty of, and have to be reckoned with from May to September. Midges usually appear in the evening and early morning when there is only a little or no wind. Anything more than a fairly breeze and they are gone, which is good news for Islay being an island and you. Midges are also less frequent on exposed hills than in sheltered valleys. I have also read that midges seem to prefer prefer dark clothing to light. Now don't start wearing bright fluorescent clothing or you might scare the other wildlife away as well.
With the above in mind it already gives you an idea of how to avoid them. But what if you are sitting outside one of these warm and calm summer evenings and a cloud of midges are after you and your blood. Here is where the Avon Skin So Soft comes in. Although smoking seems to help a little bit and other insect-repellants seem to help to a certain extent, Avon Skin So Soft body oil seems to be the best remedy. It comes as a spray and is for sale in a lot of shops, probably also on Islay but I'm not sure of that, or you can buy it online at amazon.com. Since I dont believe everything that's written down or told I tried the stuff myself. I am typically the person that insects seem to be after and always leave my wife in peace. So one calm evening we went for a walk to the Lily Loch and I used the Avon body oil and rubbed it on my face and arms (gosh what a smell) and it actually worked for me. Midges did land on my arms and face but that's it. No biting at all. If you can live with the smell of Avon Skin So Soft, it's not that bad, I can really recommend taking it with you when you visit Islay or other parts of Scotland. However I cannot guarantee it will work for you, but it did for me.
If you are interested in reading more about Midges I can recommend George Hendry's bestseller, "Midges in Scotland". You can also consult an online midge forecast for Scotland divided by area for up to a week ahead.