Those putting on their walking boots
and heading for the Scottish Highlands this summer may wish to ensure they are well protected against biting insects, due to an anticipated rise in the midge population.
Bites from the blood-sucking insects are relatively harmless but can cause irritation and itching, so walkers may take note of a prediction by Scottish midge forecast website owner Dr Alison Blackwell that their numbers may be as much as 800 times the norm this year.
She told the Scotsman newspaper the cold normally kills off many of them, but the snow may have paradoxically prevented this, commenting: "One theory is that the snow protects them to a degree because we think it may insulate the ground from the harder frosts."
However, midges do not like windy weather and for this reason, walkers will not encounter them on the mountains, being more at risk of bites back in the valleys in the evening.
Go Outdoors sells a range of insect repellent products from the Lifesystems range, including sprays, roll-ons and fumers, while those staying in tents
may like HLH citronella hanging and pillar candles, whose fumes deter the bugs.