Arrival at St Kilda

St Kilda, Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Day 18 , 16th July.

I’m now back to posting on Scotland. I last posted on Fuiay five months ago. Since then I travelled to India and then decided to process and post those images before continuing with the North Atlantic trip. My last post for India was in Jodhpur. It’s quite a contrast between the colourful crowded Indian desert city and the remote wilderness of one of the most isolated parts of Scotland.

_DSF4591

Gob Na Muce, Dun

Sailing through the fog and mist, this is our first glimpse of St Kilda.  This is almost the main island of Hirta but in fact is Gob Na Muce, at the south-east tip of the island of Dun.  Dun used to be connected to Hirta by a natural arch and according to a map I have seen appears to be connected at low tide.

.

_DSF4599

Dun

Dun is a Gaelic word for a fort but there is no evidence of a fort there now.

.

_DSF4602

Dun

The name St Kilda is the consequence of two mapmakers errors long ago – a transposition error and a typographical error.  Norse sailors called the Haskeir Islands, off the coast of North Uist, Skildir, which refers to a domed shield, because from a distance they were low and rounded.  This name was then mistakenly transferred to what is now the St Kilda group, further out in the Atlantic, and erroneously rendered as S. Kilda or St Kilda.

There is thus no person who was St. Kilda, or perhaps she is the virtual saint of mistaken identity.

There is also a suburb called St Kilda in Melbourne in Australia.  In 1812, a Devon landowner, Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, visited St Kilda and later named his yacht Lady of St Kilda.  That yacht ran aground near Melbourne in 1835 and gave part of its name to the suburb.

.

_DSF4605

Dun

One of the four natural arches through Dun.

.

_DSF4609

Oiseval, Hirta

Looking north now, to the headland of Oiseval on the main island of Hirta, with the islands of Stac Lee, Stac an Armin and Boreray from left to right in the distance.

.

_DSF4617

Dun

This is another natural arch in Dun.  You might just be able to see the chink of light from the other side.

.

_DSF4613

Dun

St Kilda is an archipelago forty miles from the coast of Northern Uist (in turn south of Lewis and Harris), of which the main islands are Hirta, Dun, Boreray and Soay.

.

_DSF4618

Dun

 

St Kilda has huge numbers of seabirds including 30,000 pairs of Northern Gannets, 49,000 pairs of Leach’s Petrels, 136,000 pairs of Atlantic Puffins and 67,000 Northern Fulmar pairs.  There is also the St Kilda Wren, endemic to St Kilda.

.

_DSF4627

Dun

A sky filled with birds.  The tiny island of Dun is home to the largest colony of fulmars in Britain and until 1928 was the only place in Britain where they bred.

.

_DSF4634

Dun on the left, Hirta on the right.  Getting across the channel is one thing; climbing the cliffs of Dun may be another.  Perhaps it is easier on the other side.

.

_DSF4642

Village Bay, Hirta

And here is our first view of Village Bay in Hirta.  If you look closely (click on image for a larger view) you can see the many structures left behind by the previous inhabitants.

.

_DSF4774

Map of St Kilda

A map of St Kilda showing the islands.  We have come in past Dun at the south-east point to anchor in Village Bay.  Wen we leave we will go around the north coast of Hirta and out through the passage between Hirta and Soay.  In the small map at top right, you can see where St Kilda is by the red square.

.

Note:  If you happen to be going backwards here, post by post, the previous posts to this one are a series on India by the previous post in my travel through Scotland is the one for Fuiay.

9 comments on “Arrival at St Kilda

  1. SPFischer says:

    Lovely photos and very interesting post, Murray. Being a wee bit Scottish, traveling to Scotland has definitely been on my bucket list for quite a long time. I’m looking forward to seeing and learning more from your posts!

    Like

    • Murray Foote says:

      Thanks very much Stacy. I’m a wee bit Scottish myself, as demonstrated by my first name and if you trace my father’s mother’s family back far enough you get to Norse invaders.

      There are also quite a few other Scottish posts already, in case you haven’t noticed, under the North Atlantic tab.

      Like

  2. Vicki says:

    Lovely series of images.
    Such a remote and desolate part.

    (and thanks for sharing the info about how St Kilda in Melbourne got it’s name. Since I take photos in St Kilda, Melbourne, all throughout the year, it was nice to hear about it’s origins)

    Like

    • Murray Foote says:

      Thanks very much Vicki.

      I purchased a St Kilda beanie with a puffin on it which I thought would be good to puzzle people in Australia but unfortunately I lost it on the way back.

      Like

  3. […] Boreray is an island off the coast of Hirta that we glimpsed in the distance in an image in a previous post. Its name is of Norse origin and means “Fortress […]

    Like

  4. […] Note:  After posting this, I travelled to India and wrote up those posts before continuing on with my journey in Scotland.   The post following this one is Arrival at St Kilda. […]

    Like

  5. […] This is a series of monochrome conversions of selected images from the previous six posts on St Kilda.  In those posts these mono images appear as colour and there is often detailed commentary including historical notes.  For information and context about St Kilda and these images, see those previous posts starting at Arrival at St Kilda. […]

    Like

  6. […] is the large island to the north-west of it (original home of the Soay Sheep).  Refer map in the Arrival at St Kilda […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s