Rapacious haemovore

Posted: September 4, 2014 in Notes from Hebden Bridge

Of all the things of prevalence here in the Calder Valley, there is one you will find omitted from all tourist literature: The midge. I’d post a picture were they not so small. However, their capacity for annoyance far outstrips their size. They punch above their weight, so to speak.

The midge is the bane of visitors to Scotland, but we have them here in the Pennines in only slightly lesser abundance. They roam in swarms, fastening themselves to bare flesh silently. They pincushion your skin, irritating the human organism with their anti-coagulant saliva. The itch this produces is fairly minor, but in multiplicity unbearable. To be engaged in outdoor activity in their haunts is a petty torture. Wiping them off by the dozen only attracts more. To my male friends and I it is a mark of manhood to endure their attentions. Pub gardens are settings for a contest of wills. I understand in North America they are referred to as ‘no-see-ums’. The favoured local term for them is unprintable.

There are many purported ways of dealing with them, only one of which I have found effective – lighting a fire. Maybe the smoke drives them away. I prefer to believe that, as they’re attracted to carbon dioxide, light and heat, they turn up en masse for dinner, only to find themselves on the wrong side of a barbecue.

Haley Base Camp in the woods. The habitual summering grounds of my tribe. This midge-devilled spot is made bearable only by the lighting of campfires and copious quantities of booze.

Haley Base Camp, the habitual summering grounds of my tribe. It looks paradisiacal, but this midge-devilled spot is made bearable only by the lighting of campfires and copious quantities of booze.

 

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