And now, here is the midge forecast: there will be 30% fewer of the little pests to trouble walkers in Scotland next year.

This year’s cold, prolonged spring stymied the breeding efforts of the scourge of the  Highland walker, leading to nearly a third fewer being recorded in the region and numbers in Fort William dropping to half the previous year’s.

Midge expert Dr Ali Blackwell of Edinburgh set traps for the annoying little biters at 32 places across Scotland. Numbers were significantly down. The hot, late summer is also thought to have reduced the number of the insects, which use the victim’s exhaled carbon dioxide to locate a their next meal.

The larvae hatch twice a year, in early June and mid-way through August. There is some bad news for the North-West of Scotland. Gairloch’s recorded numbers doubled, in contrast to the rest of the country’s diminishing catches.

Dr Blackwell says the key dates next year are 7 to 10 June, when she expects the first hatchings. If the weather is cool then, she expects the midge population to suffer. On the other hand, if there’s a long, warm, wet summer they may recover their numbers.

Dr Blackwell’s company Advanced Pest Solutions set up a website which members of the public can use to get a five-day forecast during the height of the biting season.