Every cloud has a silver lining, they say, and Britain has had more than its fair share of clouds this summer.

But while the gloom and torrents of rain may have induced depression among those outdoors lovers who pine for a clear day and a view from the hill, the awful weather has had one benefit for walkers: it has spelt disaster for the midge.recast.co.uk/2007/default_map.asp

Culicoides impunctatus, the Scottish midge notorious for causing misery for thousands of Highland visitors every year, has had its worst summer for years. Early forecasts had warned the fearsome biters would have a bumper year. Now, it turns out every single official trap – and there are 30 of them in Scotland – has seen a decline in numbers.

Today, for example, the whole of the eastern side of the Highlands is forecast to have level 1 – negligible – numbers of the insect. Only in parts of Lochaber and the north-west Highlands does the midge level rise to high.

Expert  Dr Alison Blackwell of Edinburgh University said heavy rain stopped the pests getting their regular feed: a nice helping of blood. If they don’t feed for a week, they die, and that’s been happening throughout the Scotland.

Dr Blackwell cautions that midge numbers could pick up again if there is a warm spell late in summer, so keep checking the Midge Forecast site.