Midge Free Areas in Scotland: 4 Places to Avoid Midges All Year

Scotland‘s breathtaking landscapes, with their rolling hills, shimmering lochs, and historic castles, are an irresistible draw for nature enthusiasts and travellers seeking adventure. However, amid the charm of this picturesque country lies a tiny yet formidable foe: the Scottish midge. These minuscule insects, known for their itchy bites and knack for appearing at the most inopportune moments, can dampen the outdoor experience during the Scottish midge season. Fortunately, not all hope is lost. Despite the presence of midges, there are 4 midge free areas across Scotland where you can roam freely without the constant worry of bites.

During my various visits to Scotland, I was fortunate enough to escape the dreaded midge attacks. This stroke of luck can be attributed to two key factors: my choice of destinations and my timing. Opting to explore midge free areas or strategically planning my trips during the off-season for these pesky insects played a crucial role in ensuring my outdoor experiences in Scotland were free from the nuisance of midges. I am here to share my experiences and insights, so you can plan ahead before your travels to Scotland. By making conscious decisions about where and when to travel, you too can immerse yourself in Scotland’s breathtaking beauty without constantly swatting away these tiny flying adversaries.

This guide shares smart ways to avoid midges, their behavior, and reveals four special midge free spots in Scotland. From calm coastal getaways with cool winds to the heights of the highlands, discover these havens to fully enjoy Scotland’s beauty without those pesky midges. Whether you’re seeking peace or adventure, these places offer an amazing Scottish experience. Don’t forget your repellent!

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Why are there so many midges in Scotland?

I’m sure you’re curious about why Scotland seems to have an abundance of midges. These tiny insects thrive here due to a combination of factors perfectly suited to their needs. Scotland’s damp climate, plentiful vegetation, and numerous water bodies create ideal breeding grounds for midges. Because they have a preference for laying their eggs in wet soil, the abundance of damp moss and rushes, especially in the Highlands creates an ideal paradise for midge egg-laying.

The relatively mild temperatures, especially during the warmer months, facilitate their life cycle, allowing midge populations to flourish. Additionally, the long daylight hours in Scotland’s summer provide ample time for midges to be active, especially during dawn and dusk when they are most bothersome. These factors, along with Scotland’s stunning natural landscapes, make it an attractive habitat for midges, although their presence can certainly be a challenge for everyone.

When is midge season in Scotland?

The Scottish midge season typically occurs from late spring, around May, extending through to early autumn, which includes September. During this time, these tiny flying insects, commonly known as Scottish midges, become more active due to favourable weather conditions and temperatures. However, even amidst the midge season, there are midge free areas in Scotland that provide respite from these bothersome insects, as you shall see a little further down this article.

As summer unfolds, the Highlands and other areas experience a surge in midge numbers.

The worst months for midges are in the summer months, particularly June, July, and August, when their numbers reach their peak. During this period, the Scottish midge forecast might indicate high midge activity, especially in popular outdoor areas like the west coast and the Highlands.

While the Highlands, including the west coast and Scottish highlands, may experience higher midge activity during these warmer months, it is still possible to visit these areas in the summer. You can navigate the midge season by resorting to various solutions, including using midge traps and natural insect repellents to prevent the annoyance of bites.

Keeping an eye on the midge forecast helps you plan outdoor activities more wisely, as the Highland midge’s life cycle thrives in damp weather conditions.

Understanding the midge season in Scotland allows you to make the most of your outdoor experiences in both midge-prone and midge-free areas while avoiding these tiny nuisances.

midges spin over flowers at sunset Timeless Travel Steps
midges spin over flowers at sunset

The time of day when midges are most active

Midges are most active during the early morning and late evening hours, typically around dawn and dusk. These times of day coincide with periods of lower wind and cooler temperatures, which are favourable conditions for midge activity. They thrive in Scotland’s rainy summer weather, as the combination of mild temperatures and wet environments creates an ideal habitat for them. It’s best to limit outdoor activities during these peak periods of midge activity to minimize the chances of encountering them and experiencing bites.

On the other hand, midges dislike hot and dry weather.

Additionally, they are not fans of cold temperatures and are unable to survive frost.

By understanding their preferences and tendencies, you can better plan your outdoor activities to avoid peak midge activity and make the most of your time in Scotland.

The best time of year to avoid midges in Scotland

When considering the best time of year to avoid midges in Scotland, the winter months, which encompass December to February, generally provide respite from these tiny flying insects. Midges are most active and abundant during the warmer seasons, from late spring through early autumn, forming the heart of the midge season.

The peak of midge activity typically occurs during the summer months. Therefore, it’s advisable to avoid visits, especially in June, July, and August—widely regarded as the worst months for encountering these tiny insects, particularly to areas with damp moss.

While the Highlands and west coast tend to harbour more midges due to favourable weather conditions, other regions can also experience midge activity. For those seeking a more comfortable travel experience, avoiding the peak midge season or traveling during the colder months, from late autumn to early spring, can be a prudent strategy. Understanding the pattern of midge numbers and staying mindful of the midge forecast empowers you to plan your adventures while minimising the intrusion of these pesky insects.

a picturesque view of mist covered mountains, glens and lochs in the Highlands of Scotland | Timeless Travel Steps
The Highlands pf Scotland

Worst places for midges in Scotland: Places you must avoid during the Midge Season

When it comes to midge season in Scotland, there are a few destinations that are notorious for being the worst places for midges. If you’re aiming to avoid these tiny flying insects, it’s best to steer clear of certain areas, particularly during the warmer months.

The areas that you must absolutely avoid is The Scottish Highlands during the high midge season, The Highland including the west coast, often have high midge numbers due to the favourable weather conditions that these biting insects thrive in. Areas like Glen Affric in the Highlands and popular spots along the west coast, such as the Isle of Skye and Fort William, are where midges live and can be particularly bothersome, with midge bites being an all-too-common experience.

Midges are also present on the east coast of Scotland, although their prevalence tends to be comparatively lower than in the west and the Highlands. The drier and windier conditions along the east coast aren’t as conducive to midge breeding and activity. Coastal areas such as Aberdeen and St. Andrews, situated on the east coast, generally experience fewer midges in comparison to their counterparts on the west coast.

Nonetheless, it’s crucial to recognize that midges can still be found across different parts of Scotland, and their numbers can fluctuate annually. Although the east coast typically boasts fewer midges overall, it’s wise to be prepared and adopt essential precautions while spending time outdoors, especially during the peak midge season.

Summary of places to avoid in Scotland during peak midge season

To summarise the areas to avoid during the peak midge season, here are the specific destinations in Scotland that are known for having higher midge activity:

  • Glen Coe;
  • Fort William vicinity;
  • Great Glen;
  • Torridon;
  • The Scottish Islands;
  • Damp, marshy, and sheltered highland areas.

Just so you know, that while these areas may have higher midge activity, midges can be present in various parts of Scotland, and their populations can vary from year to year. These places can still be visited during midge season. If you do, it’s recommended to be prepared and take necessary precautions when visiting these regions, especially during the peak midge season between May and September. There’s more about precautions and steps to take further in this post.

picturesque view of blue cotton clouds, as the backdrop to Glencoe, Mountains shadowed over with pink and purple hues and is reflected in the clear waters of Glencoe. The lake has trees on both sides of the waters. | Timeless Travel Steps
Glencoe, Scotland

Midge free areas in Scotland: The 4 parts of Scotland that has the least midges where you can explore in any season

It’s undeniable that midges are notorious in Scotland, however, not all areas are equal when it comes to their presence. While it’s difficult to find completely midge free areas in Scotland, there are some regions where midge activity tends to be lower due to factors like wind patterns, altitude, and climate.

There are hidden havens across Scotland that have the least midges. Where midges are not a constant annoyance, it allows you to fully relish the beauty and adventures Scotland has to offer without the constant worry of these tiny flying nuisances. From serene coastal retreats with a touch of refreshing breezes to the majestic heights of the Highlands, and even within urban cityscapes and wind-swept wildernesses, there are incredible pockets where midges won’t be able to dampen your experience.

1. Midge free coastal retreats area: Where the breezes keep midges at bay in Scotland

Scotland’s stunning coastline is a treasure trove of midge-free havens, where the gentle coastal breezes create an atmosphere inhospitable to these tiny pests.

Exploring Scotland’s coastal gems

Areas like North Berwick and St. Andrews offer picturesque seaside getaways that allow you to bask in the soothing sounds of the waves without worrying about midge bites. Exploring charming fishing villages like Pittenweem in Fife or taking a leisurely stroll along the golden sands of Achmelvich Beach, north of Ullapool in the Highlands guarantees a peaceful escape from midge troubles.

Embracing the relaxing seaside atmosphere

The charm of Scotland’s coastal retreats goes beyond the absence of midges. Coastal towns such as Oban, affectionately known as the ‘Gateway to the Hebridean Isles’ and Portpatrick, on the Galloway Peninsula offer a relaxed atmosphere where you can unwind, enjoy fresh seafood, and take in breathtaking sunsets over the water. Whether you’re sipping a cup of tea while gazing out at the sea from your cottage or wandering along the rugged cliffs of the Moray Firth, watching the bottlenose dolphins dance, these coastal havens provide the perfect backdrop for serenity, and potentially a midge-free area in Scotland.

Enjoying the freedom of outdoor activities

Coastal areas not only provide respite from midges but also serve as playgrounds for outdoor enthusiasts. The Isle of Arran, known as “Scotland in Miniature,” boasts diverse landscapes perfect for hiking, cycling, and water sports. While the coastal and windy conditions on Arran can help mitigate midge presence, places like Sandwood Bay and Sango Bay offer a chance to explore stunning cliffs, sea stacks, and hidden coves while enjoying the luxury of a midge-reduced environment. From beach picnics to wildlife spotting, these coastal havens offer an array of activities to relish, keeping in mind the possibility of midge presence, especially during the peak midge season.

Therefore, in enjoying outdoor activities…

Although it’s challenging to discover entirely midge-free zones in Scotland, certain regions exhibit lower midge activity due to influences like wind patterns, altitude, and climate. Remember that midge populations fluctuate annually, emphasizing the importance of staying informed and equipped, regardless of your chosen destination. Delving into the distinct characteristics of coastal retreats and higher elevations enables you to fully relish Scotland’s scenery while mitigating the interference of midges during your outdoor adventures.

fishing boats dock colourful houses in the backdrop in the village of Fife, Scotland. A area that is midge free in Scotland
fishing town of Fife, Scotland

2. Higher altitudes: Escaping midges while scaling new heights

Escape the clutches of midges by venturing to higher altitudes, where the air is crisper and the landscapes are adorned with serene beauty.

Ascending to midge-free elevations

For those seeking an elevation escape from midges, Scotland’s higher altitudes hold the promise of midge-free adventures. The Cairngorms National Park and the majestic peaks of Ben Nevis offer not only breathtaking vistas but also a reprieve from midge troubles. As you ascend to these heights, the cooler temperatures and brisk winds deter midges, allowing you to hike, climb, and camp without the constant swatting.

While higher altitudes can offer relief from midges, it’s important to be mindful of specific areas that may still experience midge activity. Although The Cairngorms National Park stands as a prime example of a midge-free haven within the heart of Scotland’s Highlands, midges can still be a minor bother in the Cairngorms. That said, the drier weather and occasional windy conditions help maintain midge levels at manageable levels. This elevation’s enchanting setting allows you to hike, explore, and simply breathe freely without the constant nuisance of these tiny pests.

Breathing fresh air in Scotland’s Highlands

The charm of Scotland’s Highlands lies not only in their grandeur but also in the escape they offer from midge-infested regions. Iconic areas like Glencoe, nestled within the western highlands, beckon explorers to ascend its slopes and experience a breath of fresh air untouched by midges. While higher altitudes generally offer relief from midges, certain specific areas, including damp, marshy, and sheltered highland locations in Glencoe, the Fort William vicinity, Great Glen, and Torridon, are known for having higher midge activity.

Traverse through Glen Nevis, where the enchanting beauty of Steall Falls and the towering Ben Nevis await, offering not only awe-inspiring scenery but also a break from the incessant buzzing of midges at higher altitudes.

Discovering the majesty of mountainous areas

The beauty of Scotland’s mountainous areas isn’t just a feast for the eyes—it’s a sanctuary from midges. Embarking on a journey to places like the rugged Torridon Mountains unveils awe-inspiring vistas and an escape from the tiny flying pests. As you navigate the breathtaking terrain of the Five Sisters of Kintail or the peaks of Ben Macdui, where midge presence is minimal, the tranquility of these higher altitudes envelops you, granting you the freedom to appreciate Scotland’s splendour without the interruption of midge bites.


Just remember that while higher altitudes can generally offer respite from midges, it’s important to be aware of specific locations known for higher midge activity, particularly in damp, marshy, and sheltered highland areas like Glencoe, the Fort William vicinity, Great Glen, and Torridon.

picturesque view of Ben Nevis viewed from Glen Nevis from the top of Cow Hill. Misty clouds and blue/green mountains and mountain slopes | Timeless Travel Steps
view of Ben Nevis and Glen Nevis from the top of Cow Hill

3. Urban oases: Unveiling midge free enclaves within cities

While Scotland’s natural beauty is often associated with its stunning landscapes, there are hidden gems within its urban landscape that offer a reprieve from midges.

Finding sanctuary in Scotland’s urban landscape

In cities like Inverness and Edinburgh, you can find charming parks, botanical gardens, and green spaces that provide a haven from these tiny pests. These urban oases offer a unique blend of city life and natural tranquility, allowing you to unwind without the worry of midge bites.

Urban escapes for nature lovers

For nature enthusiasts seeking to escape the grasp of midges without straying far from urban comforts, Scotland’s cities have a lot to offer. Inverness, known as the “Gateway to the Highlands,” boasts attractions like the vibrant Whin Park and the serene Ness Islands, where you can enjoy leisurely walks and picnics in midge-free zones.

Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden presents a haven of lush beauty within the city, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature without the intrusion of these pesky insects.

Mixing city life with nature exploration

Embrace the best of both worlds by discovering midge free areas nestled within Scotland’s cities. Glasgow ’s Kelvingrove Park, for instance, offers a blend of cultural attractions and open spaces where you can relax in peace. While urban areas may not always be entirely devoid of midges, these carefully curated pockets of greenery provide a sense of serenity and respite. In cities across Scotland, you’ll find opportunities to explore local culture, indulge in city amenities, and unwind in nature without the annoyance of midge bites.

Therefore, in enjoying nature’s tranquility in urban oases

Scotland’s urban oases provide a unique blend of tranquility and convenience. These midge free spots within cities like Inverness, Edinburgh, and Glasgow allow you to enjoy the outdoors without the constant swarming of midges. Whether you’re strolling through picturesque parks, embracing the beauty of botanical gardens, or simply basking in the serenity of green spaces, these urban escapes offer the perfect balance between city living and natural exploration.

the windswept rugged cliffs of Dunnet Head and Duncansby Stacks Scotland
Duncansby Stacks, Scotland

4. Windy hideaways: Embracing gusty locations for midge-free fun

When it comes to escaping midges, wind becomes your ally. Scotland’s windy hideaways offer a unique opportunity to explore the great outdoors without the constant buzz of these tiny pests.

Harnessing the power of wind to ward off midges

The Isle of Skye’s Quiraing, known for its dramatic landscapes, benefits from its gusty conditions that naturally discourage midges. The windswept cliffs and moors of North Harris also provide an ideal environment for midge-free adventures.

Seeking adventure in windy wilderness areas

For adventurous souls seeking an exhilarating escape from midges, Scotland’s windy wilderness areas beckon. The Isle of Lewis boasts vast, open landscapes where the winds keep midges at bay, allowing you to hike, bike, and explore without the nuisance of these insects. The wild expanse of Rannoch Moor, with its sweeping vistas and brisk breezes, is another destination that promises almost a midge free spot for exploration.

Exploring wind-swept landscapes with confidence

In Scotland’s gusty locations, you can explore with confidence, knowing that the winds are your shield against midges. From the rugged beauty of the Outer Hebrides to the expansive vistas of the Highlands, these areas not only offer stunning scenery but also a natural barrier against these tiny insects. Whether you’re wandering along the wind-swept shores of the Isle of Tiree or conquering the peaks of Ben Loyal, your outdoor adventures are elevated by the midge-free experience.

Therefore, in enjoying the midge free windy areas of Scotland

Scotland’s windy hideaways hold the promise of midge-free outdoor escapades. These gusty locations, such as the Isle of Skye’s Quiraing, the wild expanses of North Harris, the vast landscapes of the Isle of Lewis, and the sweeping views of Rannoch Moor, provide a haven from midges. Enjoy a trip to Scotland where the outdoors are yours to explore without the constant annoyance of midges. In these wind-swept landscapes, you can immerse yourself in Scotland’s natural beauty with minimal interference from the midges.

the mountainous landscape of Quiraing Mountain Pass, Isle of Skye, Scotland | © timelesstravelsteps.com
the mountainous landscape of Quiraing Mountain Pass, Isle of Skye

Summary of destinations in Scotland where it is midge free or minimal midges

Here are the specific destinations in Scotland that are generally considered minimal or best for midge free areas:

Midge free areas

Coastal Areas:

  • Inverness;
  • Isle of Skye;
  • St Andrews;
  • Aberdeen;
  • Isle of Tiree;
  • Isle of Arran.

Higher Altitude Locations:

  • Cairngorms National Park;
  • Glencoe (certain areas);
  • Glen Nevis;
  • Ben Nevis.

Urban Oases:

  • Inverness Parks and Green Spaces;
  • Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden;
  • Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park.


  • Quiraing, Isle of Skye;
  • North Harris;
  • Isle of Lewis;
  • Rannoch Moor.

Please remember that while these areas are generally less affected by midges, it’s still possible to encounter them in various parts of Scotland. Midge populations can vary from year to year, so it’s wise to be prepared with repellents and take necessary precautions during outdoor activities.

adult female midge
adult female midge

Precautions to take and dealing with midges and midge bites

As you explore the stunning landscapes of Scotland, taking precautions against midges and knowing how to manage their bites can make your outdoor adventures more enjoyable. Here’s how to stay ahead during midge season in Scotland:

Preventive measures:

Wear Protective Clothing: Dress in light-colored, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and socks to minimise exposed skin.

Apply Insect Repellent: Use midge repellent products on exposed areas, such as skin and clothing.

Choose Windy Locations: Opt for coastal areas or higher altitudes where wind patterns deter midges.

Time Your Activities: Plan outdoor activities during midge-free hours, typically early morning or late evening.

Stay Away from Damp Areas: Avoid damp, marshy, and sheltered highland locations, which are prone to midge activity.

Dealing with midges and midge bites

Repel Midges: Apply midge repellent according to the product’s instructions before heading outdoors.

Use Protective Gear: Consider using head nets and lightweight jackets with hoods to shield your face and neck.

Stay in Well-Ventilated Areas: Opt for accommodations with screens and windows to prevent midges from entering.

Use Fans: Utilise fans or create wind using outdoor activities to discourage midges from settling.

Apply Soothing Lotions: If bitten, apply anti-itch creams or natural remedies like aloe vera to alleviate discomfort.

Avoid Scratching: Refrain from scratching bites to prevent infection; instead, keep them clean and covered.

Take Antihistamine: Bring along an over-the-counter antihistamine to take so to reduce itching and inflammation when biten.

Midges don’t like certain candle fragrance

Using candles with scents that midges dislike can indeed help deter them from your outdoor space. Citronella, eucalyptus, lavender, and lemongrass are scents known to repel midges. Burning these candles creates an aromatic barrier that can discourage midges from approaching.

TIP: To enhance the effectiveness, consider burning multiple candles at the same time to increase the coverage area and maximise the chances of keeping midges away. This simple and natural approach can contribute to a more pleasant outdoor experience while enjoying the beauty of Scotland’s landscapes.

Midges dislike light-coloured clothing

Wearing light-coloured clothing can be helpful in deterring midges, as they are generally less attracted to lighter shades than darker ones. By choosing light-coloured clothing, you reduce the likelihood of midges being drawn to you.

Some people attract midges more than others

Absolutely, it’s true that midges can exhibit preferences for certain individuals based on factors such as body odours, heat, and carbon dioxide emissions. This phenomenon explains why some people seem to be more prone to midge bites than others. Additionally, certain scents from deodorants, perfumes, and aftershaves can attract midges, inadvertently increasing the likelihood of bites. Being mindful of the scents you use and being aware of how your body’s natural odours might affect midge attraction can contribute to a more comfortable outdoor experience in Scotland’s stunning landscapes.

midges free areas in Scotalnd | dancing midges at dusk | timeless travel steps
dancing midges at dusk

Use these 12 smart strategies and conscious planning to keep midges away

Plan ahead and adopt these 12 smart strategies to help keep midges away when travelling during midge season. These are things that I do as well and I am certain it will help you during your visit to Scotland in the midge season:

  • Insect repellents: Apply midge repellent products containing ingredients like DEET, picaridin, or natural alternatives such as lemon eucalyptus oil to exposed skin and clothing. The highly recommended is Smidge.
  • Protective clothing: Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts, pants, socks, and closed-toe shoes to cover as much skin as possible.
  • Head nets and hoods: Use head nets and lightweight jackets with hoods to protect your face, neck, and head from midges in worst affected areas.
  • Wind and air movement: Choose windier locations such as coastal areas or higher altitudes, as midges are less likely to thrive in these conditions.
  • Fans and ventilation: Use fans or create wind using outdoor activities to discourage midges from settling on your skin or in your vicinity.
  • Avoid damp areas: Stay away from damp, marshy, and sheltered highland locations, where midges tend to be more prevalent.
  • Timing: Plan outdoor activities during midge-free hours, such as early morning or late evening, when midge activity is lower.
  • Screens and netting: Stay in accommodations with screens on windows and doors to prevent midges from entering.
  • Use scented candles: Scented candles like Citronella, eucalyptus, lavender, and lemongrass are believed to repel midges. Consider using them generously when needed.
  • Avoid using perfumes and scented products: Strong scents can attract midges, so consider minimizing the use of scented products.
  • Stay active: Midges are attracted to still, stationary targets. Keep moving and stay active to make yourself less appealing to them.

While no method is foolproof, combining these strategies can help significantly reduce midge encounters and make your outdoor experiences in Scotland more enjoyable.

Additionally, avoiding outdoor activities during dawn and dusk, when midges are most active, is a practical way to minimize your exposure to these tiny pests. These simple precautions can enhance your comfort and enjoyment while exploring the beautiful landscapes of Scotland.

Related articles about Scotland

If you’re planning a trip to Scotland, you may find the following articles resourceful to plan ahead of your trip:

As a deliberate escapist and mindful traveller…

In enchanting Scotland during the summer season, the quest to roam freely without the buzz of midges is an aspiration shared by many. While it’s difficult to find completely midge-free areas generally in Scotland during the midge season, there are some regions where midge activity tends to be lower or none due to factors like wind patterns, altitude, and climate. You can enjoy midge free areas in Scotland at serene coastal retreats, elevated escapes to higher altitudes, urban oases, and wind-swept hideaways.

My summer trips were generally to cities like Edinburgh or Glasgow. I found solace in serene coastal retreats like Fife, reveled in the tranquility of urban oases like Ness Islands, and embraced the protective havens of wind-swept hideaways. My preference for travelling to Scotland in mid to late September, when midges are less or none at all, and the rain isn’t as prevalent as it is in October, has allowed me to fully immerse myself in the country’s landscapes.

While midges remain a part of Scotland’s natural tapestry, their presence need not define your experiences. With careful planning, midge repellents, and a touch of awareness, you can enjoy the beauty, culture, and wonders of Scotland in their purest form. From the windswept moors to the tranquil shores, the mountains’ lofty peaks to the heart of the cities, Scotland’s landscapes are yours to discover and savour, unencumbered by the hum of midges.

Remember that midge populations can fluctuate annually, reinforcing the importance of remaining informed and equipped, regardless of your chosen destination. With these strategies in mind, your journey through Scotland’s enchanting terrain can be a truly exceptional and midge-free adventure.

Happy and Safe Travels Always, Wherever Travel Takes You xx

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