This week’s Friday Flickr is the last in my series of reminiscences from my travels through the Outer Hebrides.
St Kilda, in case you don’t know, is a small archipelago out in the Atlantic about 40 miles off the coast of the Outer Hebrides, which themselves lie off the coast of Western Scotland.
After a couple of thousand years of being permanently inhabited, life on the main island of Hirta finally became unsustainable and the last of the population was evacuated in 1930.
Because of their isolation the islands have become Scotland’s answer to the Galapagos Islands and have their own breeds of sheep (Soay and Boreray), wren (the St Kilda wren) and mouse (the St Kilda field mouse).
The islands also have the highest sea cliffs in Britain, a lot of puffins and a large gannetry (this excited me because gannets are my favourite birds).
The entire archipelago is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland and they have work parties living on Hirta for a few months each summer. Since 1957 there has been a Ministry of Defence presence on the islands and they have people posted to Hirta year round.
In 1986 St Kilda was awarded World Heritage Status for both its cultural and natural heritage, becoming one of the few places in the world to hold dual status.
Day-trippers to the islands need to endure a long an VERY bumpy boat trip. The spaces on the boats fill up quickly and it’s always touch and go whether the boats will actually sail as often the weather conditions mean trips have to be cancelled.
I feel so privileged to be one of a relatively small number of people to have been to St Kilda. I’d still like to get back one day to spend a week or two as part of a work party, but if that never happens at least I’ll always remember my one day there.
Click on the image below to access the Flickr album.