Flora and Fauna
Many guests join us, especially in spring, to see the wonderful profusion of flowers that can been seen in woods, fields and on the machair. Bluebells, orchids in an array of mauves and purples, dainty field pansies, bog cotton, innumerable grasses, speedwell, eyebright and thrift to name a very few… there are over 1000 identified wild flowers alone in the Hebrides. At the other end of the season you may be able to forage for funghi.
There is a huge variety of life beneath the sea which you may see. Jellyfish, fish and starfish can be seen from the boat and beach walks often reward with everything from anemones to crabs. The two greatest spring tides occur in March and September and the following day provides a great opportunity for collecting specimens not normally found ashore, such as “sea potatoes” (or heart urchins) and blue-rayed limpet shells. Finding an undamaged urchin on the beach is both rare and exhilarating!
Last but not least there are butterflies and moths to see. The exotic sounding “slender scotch burnet moth” is thought to only survive on the islands of Mull and Ulva. You might not manage to see one of these but there are plenty of other more common species such as map winged swift moths (caught recently in a temporary trap on St Kilda), hawk moths and peacock and tortoiseshell butterflies.
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.