Last year a party of geologists unwittingly comitted a cultural crime on Hirta. Collecting samples for analysis back in the laboratory they desecrated a spot dear to the hearts of generations of past St Kildans. A sizeable chunk was knocked off the Milking Stone. This rock, beside the road leading down to the village from the top of the island, is a 'Brownie Stone'. Brownies were not always little girls in brown uniforms. Mythically they were a race of small people, faery folk, who would help out their human counterparts as long as they received a treat in return. They were reputed to be particularly fond of creamy milk. Failure to keep your side of the bargain meant laying up trouble for the future. To ensure prosperity, St Kildan women returning from milking cattle in Glen Mhor would pour out some of their hard won milk on this stone to please the Brownies. The Brownies must have been outraged to have their special place desecrated and could have been plotting all sorts of trouble for our small community. Needless to say NTS came to the rescue and employed a specialist monument restorer to seamlessly refix the missing chunk of stone. This was taken very seriously for here you see Susan Bain,our Western Isles Manager, lifting the likely curse by pouring the first jug of milk for the Brownies in many a year.