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The St. Kilda Archipelago

 

The islands of St. Kilda consist of an extinct volcanic archipelago, the largest member of which is called Hirta. Other islands in the group are Dun (just barely seperated from Hirta), Soay and the more distant Boreray, plus several rock stacks, including Stac Lee, Stac An Armin and the tiny Levenish.

 

St. Kilda lies some 64km (40 miles) out into the North Atlantic west of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, and has been declared a Dual World Heritage site on account of both its natural and cultural significance.

 

People are thought to have lived on Hirta more or less continuously for the last 2000 years. The population living at Village Bay on Hirta is believed to have peaked at around 200 residents, but when it was evacuated on 29th August 1930, only 36 people remained. They had lived by harvesting the seabirds, including Fulmars, Puffins and particularly the Gannets - this involved a hazardous trip to the Stacs and an even more hazardous climb to the nesting areas.

 

Nowadays, most visitors to the island come either as members of National Trust work parties to carry out archeological work and maintain the buildings, or arrive on yachts and cruise boats.