St Kilda

Step  on to the wild and windy shore of the isle of St Kilda and you are in another world. A lonely deserted world abandoned by its inhabitants many years ago.  They all chose to leave way back in 1930.  All that is left now is a cobbled street, shells of the houses where they once lived, and a whole lot of shaggy wild sheep.

Perhaps their ghosts are still there, hunting for wild  seabirds for food and feathers.  Why feathers? Well they were their only form of income.  They plucked the birds feathers and sold them to pillow and cushion manufacturers on the mainland.   They scaled the steep cliffs to steal birds’ eggs from nests perched high on ledges, and thus provided another source of food.  The women spun and weaved the wool from the sheep to make clothes, blankets and rugs.

There is a small schoolroom, a tiny church, a post office , and the houses still in existence.  There was once a doctor, a teacher  and a preacher.  And, of course, a small, close community of strange hardy folk. W ho did they marry?  Well, not much choice.  There had to be a great deal of inbreeding.

I was so lucky to be able to walk on this remote island.  Many try to get there but rough seas and stormy weather make it often impossible to land.  It was a magical and eerie experience, and one I shall always treasure.

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