St. Kilda

The archipelago of St. Kilda is the remotest part of the British Isles and lies 41 miles (66 kilometres) west of Benbecula in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. St. Kilda breaks the waters of the Atlantic Ocean some 100 miles west of the mainland.

On clear days it appears as a dark silhouette on a distant horizon. Approach it, and it resolves into seven shapes – the four islands of Hirta, Boreray, Soay and Dun, and three towering sea stacks. Hirta is the largest island in the St Kilda archipelago, on the western edge of Scotland. The names “Hiort” and “Hirta” have also been applied to the entire archipelago.

It is an enigmatic and awe-inspiring landscape, a starkly beautiful vision of ‘life on the edge’ which has fascinated everyone from travellers, antiquarians and conservationists to writers, film crews and tourists. And, perhaps as a result, it is one of the most mythologised and misunderstood places on earth. Its islands with their exceptional cliffs and sea stacs form the most important seabird breeding station in north-west Europe. The evacuation of its native population in 1930 brought to a close an extraordinary story of survival.

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