St Kilda - One of the world’s special places.
The archipelago of St Kilda, the remotest part of the British Isles, lies in the Atlantic Ocean, 41 miles (66 kilometres) west of Benbecula in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. Its islands, with their exceptional cliffs and sea stacs, are rich in wildlife and form the most important seabird breeding station in north-west Europe. The cliffs of St Kilda are home to an estimated 1 million sea birds including Puffin, Fulmar, Gannet, Shearwater, Petrel, Kittiwake and Shags. The evacuation of its native population in 1930 brought to a close an extraordinary story of survival.
Today, three organisations, The National Trust for Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Ministry of Defence work in partnership to further a continuing programme of conservation and research on the islands to ensure the care and protection of this World Heritage Site. Dual World Heritage Site St Kilda is one of only 35 global locations to be awarded World Heritage Status for both natural and cultural significance. The remote Hebridean Islands share this honour with natural and cultural wonders such as the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu in Peru, Mount Athos in Greece and the Ukhahlamba/Drakensberg Park in South Africa.
The journey to St Kilda
Note: The journey from Harris to St Kilda is in the Exposed Atlantic Ocean and can see large swells making for an uncomfortable crossing in rough weather.
What to do on St Kilda
On arrival in Village Bay, passengers make the short transfer by Zodiac dinghy to the main St Kilda island of Hirta. Passengers are free to explore the Island. The St Kilda museum, school and Church provide a fascinating insight into the way of life of the St Kildans prior to their evacuation in 1930. The remains of the village, the graves and 2nd World War gun are all open to view.
By request prior to the date of travel, we may be able to arrange a guided walk at a cost of £5 per person. The season for puffins is usually from end of April to early August, and for gannets, from April to October.
Further information and links
Why St Kilda is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (available in 8 languages)
A picture of the St Kilda school log book
If you search for St Kilda on the Highland Council History & Culture website you will find historic documents and images.
Further information from the National Trust for Scotland is available on our Downloads page.
Historic connection between Skye and St Kilda
Today Go To St Kilda links the Isle of Skye to St Kilda by boat but the connection between the two places is historic.
The St Kilda group of islands was for centuries part of the lands of the MacLeod clan seated in Dunvegan Castle, Skye. They were sold in the 1930s after the islanders had been evacuated. Exhibits in Dunvegan Castle illustrate the extraordinary way of life of its people. An example is the horsehair rope. No man was allowed to marry until he had woven one of these, so that he could maintain his wife by being able to hunt for the sea-birds living on the great cliffs. This rope had to be able to bear his weight in case he fell from the cliffs during the hunt. Other examples are the door lock with its removable wooden key and the post-bag which are recognisable functions of everyday life today. Mail was thrown into the sea to be washed up eventually either on the shores of Norway or of Scotland, depending upon the currents at the time.