Hirta, St Kilda

[Main Street, Hirta]

Hirta is the largest, most hospitable island of the St Kilda archipelago, and the only one you can set foot on during tours from civilisation, i.e., the rest of Scotland. It's several decades since the last Hiortans were evacuated in 1930 after years of decreasing self-sufficiency and increasing contact with a more comfortable outside world, and the island's since been left frozen in time. Or has it? Views of the fascinating old village (Am Baile) are interrupted by the incongruous presence of a missile tracking station belonging to the Ministry of Defence; meanwhile, the National Trust for Scotland has been gentrifying parts of Main Street, restoring cottages and the cleits which dot the island (stone stores built for preserving eggs, fish and other supplies). It doesn't mar the overall atmosphere; in fact, it creates a surreal mix of the ordinary and the extraordinary, and you'll appreciate such luxuries as a flushing toilet and small shop. Most of the rest of the island is nature at its finest, with the UK's highest sea cliffs, rugged hills, noisy seabird colonies, and Soay sheep grazing everywhere - the latter are descendants of the animals abandoned in 1930. You could easily spend a few days here soaking it all up, but the single day boat trips only allow a few hours ashore. There won't be time to do it all justice, but chin up: you've also an exciting trip around the sea stacks to the north to look forward to.

[Cleits (foreground) and Main Street (background)]

📌 Hirta, St Kilda ★★★★★
Location (Main Street): G.R.: NF 102994 ///rejoins.diet.bright

[The Gap]

[Soay sheep]

[Cleit]

[Village Bay with the puffin colonies of Dùn]

[Cleits leading up to The Gap (far right)]

[Cleits]

[Looking back towards Village Bay from the approach to The Gap]

[Zoomed view of Boreray and the sea stacks]

[Nesting fulmars at The Gap]

[Am Baile - the village]

[Museum in one of the restored cottages on Main Street]

[Soay sheep]

[Am Baile and Conachair summit]

[Cleits and Conachair]

[Village Bay]

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