Midges and the failcloths

Napoleon Dynamite on a bike
Stylish cycling headgear shown not to bother native insect life

Months before leaving for Islay, Clutch warned me of the “wee biting beasties” of the Hebrides. He even went so far as to provide me with a special insect repellent cloth that when worn (or perhaps rubbed into the skin – I didn’t read the instructions) would protect me from the fearsome teeth of the Scottish midge.

We had one of these cloths each, and alternated between the rubbing and the wearing thereof. Nevertheless, we managed to be plagued by swarms of these flying pests.

Clutch was particularly bothered by them. Swearing and slapping at himself in a way that was suggestive of mental illness, rather than simply insect attack, he cursed the ineffectiveness of what came to be known as the failcloths. If anything, they seemed to attract their attention, rather than frighten away the midges.

Some interesting facts that may or may not be true about midges, courtesy of Clutch’s fanciful brain:

1) Midges only attack at dusk. They explode in direct sunlight.
2) Midges fly at 6 miles an hour, so you’re safe pedalling downhill, but in peril on the incline.
3) Only female midges bite. The male of the species does not require sustenance.

For the record, Clutch is nursing in excess of 20 midge bites. I don’t seem to have any. Perhaps my cloth worked…

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