A Visit to St Kilda
Perhaps we should start by saying there is no such thing as a “typical” visit to St Kilda. The quality and length of the visit is normally determined by factors outside our control, such as the weather, but below is the experience we aim to deliver.
We anchor in Village Bay and after breakfast you’ll be given a packed lunch and taken across to Hirta in the inflatable. Lifejackets must be worn if the sea is lumpy. Firstly you’ll meet the SNH/NTS warden as s/he is responsible for the islands’ care. The warden will brief you before you explore as there may be places on the island where you are not permitted to venture and you must respect the warden’s instruction during all visits ashore.
Glance up the steep slopes to the dizzy heights of Conachair – at 430m or 1569 ft this is the highest sea cliff in Britain – and Mullach Mor or, behind you, to Oiseval. From the village you can look across to Dun where natural arches suggest the tunnel and cave formations below the surface of the sea. Gaze in awe at the bird-covered ledges of the cliffs and you’ll wonder how on earth the St Kildans managed to scale these heights. Barefoot. In the dark! In reasonable conditions you can ascend the hills but mist and high winds sometimes make it dangerous to do so.
From the tops of Hirta, in clear conditions, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Boreray, Stac an Armin and Stac Lee to the North East, Levenish to the South East and from the Cambir on the North West of Hirta it’s a stone’s throw to Soay and the surrounding stacks.
After a walk you’ll probably want to purchase a souvenir from the shop or maybe you’ll send a postcard in one of the modern-day St Kilda mail-boats. These cards have travelled as far afield as Orkney and Norway and one was recently picked up by a support vessel at Foinaven Oil Field 190km west of Shetland! The quickest ever recovery was two days but some mail-boats take two years to drift ashore.
At the end of your day’s exploration you’ll travel back to the boat for your evening meal perhaps accompanied by a late sunset. Click here to see a gallery showing photographs from a typical day at St Kilda.
Occasionally the swell or the wind direction make it too dangerous to land in Village Bay in which case we may venture round the back of Hirta to Glen Bay or perhaps view some of the other islands or stacks of St Kilda. We usually circumnavigate the archipelago showing you Levenish, Dun, Soay Boreray, Stac Lee and Stac an Armin before we head back to the Outer Hebrides.
It is essential that you bring any rubbish back to the vessel for appropriate disposal. Do not leave any litter on St Kilda even if it is organic or biodegradable.
DID YOU KNOW?
The first signs of habitation on Hirta (the largest island in the St Kilda archipelago and the only one you can really land on) are thought to have occurred c. 600 AD.