Hirta and Boreray on the St Kilda archipelago.
‘One cannot be long on this island without discovering the great moral injury that tourists and sentimentalists and yachtsmen, with pocketfuls of money, are working upon a kindly and simple people’ – Robert Connell, 1886
Thus being a tourist to the place that tourism destroyed wasn’t lost on me at all.
Stood on Conachair with a pair of white-tailed sea eagles below me to the North, the cliets and stonehouses of Am Baile below me to the South, the scream of the Skua, the bleat of the Soay lambs, and the crash of the Atlantic, here time ceased to matter.
A very long journey to a truly remarkable place.
In my tight Northern way i grumbled about the cost of a trip to St Kilda for months beforehand. It is a long, tiring, expensive day out. More tiring if you chug up to Conachair and then walk the skyline to Mullach Mor and Ruanhal.
But who am i to moan. I wasn’t rowing a wooden boat in winter across to Boreray to scale those cliffs barefoot to catch gannets, fulmars and puffins for their feathers and oil to pay the landlord, and eating the meagre excess myself.
I wondered what St Kildans would make of the contemporary use of words like ‘extreme’, ‘hardship’, and ‘struggle’. An extraordinary people.
I travelled with @kildacruises, and i will again without hesitation.
If anybody is interested in a (non commercial) short (but painfully expensive) camping trip and exploration of Hirta, camping in the Village, and a boat visit to the stacs and cliffs of Boreray, drop me a line.
St Kilda. National Nature Reserve and World Heritage Site.
Truly ‘A World Apart’.