If the Scottish weather, apart from being generally wetter (especially on the west coast) than many other places in the UK, tends to be at least a little bit better than its pretty universally held image, and the wildlife in Scotland is mostly as benign as everywhere else in the UK, there is one creature that keeps visitors away from large swathes of the best Scottish landscape for half of the year.
This creature is a small insect that flies slowly and can be easily squashed with two fingers: the Highland Midge.
Midges are a bane of the outdoors on the west coast of Scotland (although they appear in other areas as well, but in vastly smaller quantities) and anybody who is considering camping or even just hiking in those areas between late April and October (and certainly May to September) should really pay some heed to keeping midges at bay.
There are various theories as to how best you can avoid the pesky insects, but frankly, if you are in a midge-infested place, there is very little you can do.
They like damp, warm(ish) and windless. They don't like dry and hot, so won't be out in full summer sunshine (although that tends to be rare in the Highlands). They don't like windy, but then windy is not much for for people either. They are not very fast, so walking at a reasonable speed (easy on flat, not so easy when slogging up a hill) will keep them from biting, but stopping for any reason will bring them on in spats.
What CAN you do, then?
1) Stay indoors, especially when midges come out in droves, which tends to be at dusk and earlish in the morning. Unlike mosquito, midges don't invade buildings much, though if you leave an open window and a light on at night, you will need a vacuum cleaner to get rid of them, and you will miss some.
2) Use a repellent. Various ones have their own fans, in my personal experience the best OVERALL is a new one called The Smidge, expensive but effective and not too horrible. DEET-containing tropical-strength repellents also work, but in addition to repelling midges, they dissolve your electronic equipment (or at least plastic parts thereof) and make the food taste foul. Some people swear by Avon's Skin-So-Soft jojoba skin oil (the original green/blue bottle), and it's commonly sold in shops in the Highlands. I find that it works reasonably, but needs to be reapplied very frequently and smells worse than Smidge (but better than DEET).
3) Cover up. Wear long-sleeved tops, long trousers and some form of hat. If you do a lot of hiking, or are likely to be outdoors a lot and unable to hide from midges, seriously consider getting a midge net for your head. Sometimes you will need it simply not to choke on the swarm of midges even if the repellent keeps them from biting you! Some people buy full-body midge suits, and you know, it's not as a ridiculous idea as it seems.
4) Check midge forecast at ww.midgeforecast.co.uk and try to choose areas where the midge levels are lower.