by Jill Smith
When I wrote my book Mother of the Isles (Dor Dama Press 2003) I had not yet managed to visit her. I had tried for 15 years, to no avail. Chartered boats were too expensive, cruises couldn’t guarantee to stop there and places on NT working parties impossible to get on. It was only when Angus Campbell of Kilda Cruises began day-trips in a speed-boat in 2005 that for me it finally became possible.
Where is St. Kilda (or Hiort or Hirte)? Forty miles west of the Western Isles, which are themselves a long way west of Scotland. Rocky remnants of an ancient volcano, the group of islands and stacs rise sheer from the depths of dark green water, covered with hundreds of thousands of sea-birds which the islanders hunted precariously through millennia until the last few people left in 1930.