St Kilda (Hirta / Hiort) in the Outer Hebrides

photo of St Kilda
St Kilda image copyright
Colin Palmer stock photo library (purchase prints and posters online)

St Kilda

St Kilda, Outer Hebrides
Known as the islands at the edge of the world.

Approximately 55 miles west of Harris.
The archipelago comprises the sea stacks Stac Lee and Stac an Armin
and the islands of Hirta, Dun, Soay & Boreray.
Inhabited for centuries, then evacuated in 1930.

Designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site
for both its natural and cultural significance.
Now owned by the National Trust for Scotland.
Famous for its remoteness and sea bird colonies.

The name is probably a corruption of the Norse designation 'Skildir'
(there never was a Saint Kilda or St. Kilda).

Information links, boat trips, books - see below

St Kilda
St Kilda copyright the Internet Guide to Scotland 2009 and 2011

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Museum
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Soay Sheep
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School room
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Church
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Boreray St Kilda

INFORMATION

Map of St Kilda

Maps by Expedia.co.uk Travel
www.expedia.co.uk

Cruises & Boat Trips to St Kilda (weather permitting):

  • Kilda Cruises - day trips from the isle of Harris. Angus Campbell will take you from Leverburgh for the day (weather permitting). Advance booking essential.
  • Sea Harris - daily trips from the Isle of Harris to St Kilda. Seumas Morrison will take you across for the day (weather permitting). Advance booking essential.
  • Go To St Kilda - day trips to St Kilda from Uig on the the Isle of Skye
  • Seatrek - boat trips from Lewis
  • Island Cruising - based on the isle of Lewis.
  • Sea kayak trips with Adventure Hebrides from Lewis.
  • Uist Outdoor Centre in North Uist provides the fastest sea transport service to St Kilda (1.5 hours by RIB). They can take you sea kayaking and scuba diving around the islands.
  • Hebridean Princess - luxury cruise ship, sailing from Oban - usually has two 1-week cruises in June each year which include a visit to St Kilda.
  • Noble Caledonia - variety of cruise ships with a choice of 7 or 10 day cruises around Scotland and the UK including a visit to St Kilda
  • National Trust for Scotland - annual cruise around Scotland on the Spirit of Adventure - usually includes St Kilda
  • Hebrides Cruises with the 'Elizabeth G' sail from Oban to St Kilda. Accommodation on board for 12 guests. Private charters available.
  • Moonshadow Yacht Charter Ltd (based at Dunstaffnage Marina, near Oban) offers 4-12 day skippered sailing holidays around the west coast of Scotland including the Hebrides and St Kilda aboard an Oyster 68.
  • New Horizon Sailing - holidays from Tobermory visiting the St Kilda & Hebrides.
  • Northern Light sails from Oban. Variety of vessels.
  • Sails and Summits offer skippered sailing holidays from Oban including trips to St Kilda & Hebrides.
  • Ardnamurchan Charters.
  • Brightwater Holidays - coach trips around the Hebrides which can include a day trip to St Kilda
  • Wilderness Scotland - combined sailing/walking holidays around the Hebrides

BOOKS

St Kilda and the Wider World: Tales of an Iconic Island

This radical new interpretation of the islanders' lives has been written by Andrew Fleming (Professor of Archaeology at the University of Wales) and discusses the realities of island life before evacuation.
Paperback published May 2005. 208 pages.
Available from Amazon UK

A Natural History of St Kilda

John Love creates a fascinating and insightful account of the islands' human history and shows just how important wildlife was to the survival of the islanders. Much of this information has lain for years in little known private diaries, files, reports or obscure scientific journals.
Paperback published June 2009. 320 pages.
Available from Amazon UK

The Life and Death of St Kilda:
The Moving Story of a Vanished Island Community

This 297 page paperback by Tom Steel is one of the most popular books about St Kilda and is a highly recommended read.
Numerous old photos.
Available from Amazon.com and Amazon UK

St Kilda: Island on the Edge of the World

A part of Britain but a world apart, St Kilda society existed almost completely isolated from the mainstream of civilization for more than 1000 years. Increased contact with the mainland during the 19th century brought about the downfall of what many once regarded as an ideal society. Missionaries and tourists brought money, disease and despotism. In 1930 the islanders, who could no longer support themselves, were finally evacuated at their own request.

The island's story was chiefly recorded by outsiders. This book examines the island and the St Kildan society as a microcosm of a process which is consistently taking place, often on a much larger scale, all over the world. St Kilda remains a symbol of the ability of man to survive in the most hostile of environments and it remains a fascination unique among islands. This new edition of Charles Maclean's study of the island contains an introduction highlighting recent findings about St Kilda.
Paperback. 200 pages.
Available from Amazon.com and Amazon UK

The Prisoner of St Kilda:
The true story of the unfortunate Lady Grange

The dramatic true story of 18th century marital and political strife – from Lady Grange’s origins as the daughter of a murderer, to Edinburgh socialite, to being abducted by her husband's powerful friends and stranded on St Kilda for 7 years. Condemned to a very different lifestyle than she had enjoyed in Edinburgh, and baffled by the strange tongue of the Gaelic West, she still obstinately survived, finally dying in Skye in 1745.
Written by Margaret Macaulay.
Hardcover. 192 pages.
Available from Amazon UK and Amazon.com

Photographer Monica Weller
sells high quality b/w
posters & postcards
of her St Kilda photos
and Hebridean snapshots.
Plus a book (described below)

Voyage to St Kilda by photographer Monica Weller.
This 72-page paperback book contains 70 b/w photos chronicling the author's long-awaited journey by boat from Harris to the wildest of the Western Isles, St Kilda, in August 1997.
To quote John-Murdo Morrison of Harris: 'This book provides another dimension to the epic story of the The Islands on the Edge. To travel with Monica Weller in poem, prose and photography is a moving and exhilarating experience. The photographs indicate a perceptive eye and add tremendously to the drama and dignity of Hirta, inspiring the reader to an inexplicable feeling of awe and appreciation of these Jewels of the Western Ocean.'
I personally found Monica's words to be a close echo my own feelings for the Hebrides. She portrays their magnetism very well. If you have already experienced the isles, you will understand completely, if you have never yet been, you will want to go!
The book is available from the author for 7.99 UK pounds plus 85 pence postage within the UK. For international orders the cost is 7.99 pounds plus 2 pounds postage. To order your copy, please send a UK cheque or international money order to:
Monica Weller A.R.P.S., 1 Durleston Park Drive, Bookham, Surrey KT23 4AJ, England.

Bill Lawson Publications, based on Harris, specialises in the Western Isles and has books about St Kilda and other Hebridean islands for sale online, plus online archive at hebridespeople.com

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The Internet Guide to Scotland
contains information about many other Hebridean islands such as:
Harris - Lewis - Uist - Barra