Monday, October 11, 2010

We do know there is a very quaint island dubbed the "remotest island of Scotland".

So writes a correspondent from up near Seattle.

I suspect this is St Kilda - World Heritage Site and Europe's most important seabird colony. It qualifies as remote being 41 miles west of the (fairly remote)  islands of the Outer Hebrides.

In 1697 there were 180 - 200 inhabitants on this dramatic cluster of sea stacks and their consumption of fulmars (cliff nesting seabirds) worked out at 115 per person per annum! For many years the principal form of communication with the mainland was the 'mailboat': a tin containing a letter with an inflated sheep's bladder as a float. The photo is from 1897.

It was a fascinating and extraordinary way of life. However in 1930 the final 36 St Kildans requested evacuation to the mainland.

The island is now administered by the National Trust for Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Ministry of Defence. In summer there is a resident National Trust Warden; he has just left for the winter and writes an excellent and thought-provoking blog. 

Day visitors can get there with Sea Harris.

 It's a fascinating place, albeit not one with tourist accommodation. If we can fix up a day trip I plan to be the volunteer guide!

1 comment:

Erna said...

Goodevening Alastair, I love this story about St Kilda, I'd love to visit it one day and it would be great to have you as guide..