As the season starts to dwindle with significantly less boats making their way out, now is a good time to reflect back on all the extraordinary visitors we’ve had over the summer.
There’s certainly been many memorable moments and people, but one that definitely stands out is the couple of paddlers that arrived one sunny, warm day in July. Patrick Winterton and Dean Dunbar had paddled from North Uist, a distance of 40 miles(64 km)!! As if this feat isn’t challenging enough for any able-bodied person, Dean is legally blind and he did the crossing on a stand-up paddleboard! He definitely deserves his self-proclaimed title: “blind and dangerous”. To read all about Dean’s inspirational adventures, including his trip to St Kilda, have a read of his blog.
Dean Dunbar, blind and dangerous adventurer, at St Kilda. Copyright Dean Dunbar.
Another jaw propping accomplishment was performed by climbers Dave MacLeod and Natalie Berry. Dave, who is one of the UK’s top climbers, managed to complete four new routes on Ruaival of which one was given the grade E8. The climbers arrived on the yacht Dodo’s Delight skippered by Bob Shepton, also a well-known legend and explorer. To read more about their St Kildan climbing and sailing adventure, please see Natalie's article in UK Climbingand Dave's blogpost.
Please note: climbing is not permitted on St Kilda during the breeding season in any location with breeding birds. The routes climbed by Dave and Natalie are all grossly overhanging and do not have any birds on them. Please contact the office for any further information on climbing.
Dave MacLeod concentrating hard on his route 'Making a splash', E7. Copyright Dark Sky Media.
We’ve also had some prominent visitors from the high ranks within the NTS. Simon Skinner, the Chief Executive of the Trust, finally managed a successful visit (fourth time lucky!) and we also had a visit from Dominic Driver, Head of Natural Heritage. Dominic visited together with none other than Fiona Hyslop, MSP and Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs. This formidable posse also included George Geddes, former archeologist on St Kilda; currently an archaeologist for HES; and author of the fantastic book St Kilda, the Last and Outmost Isle.
Above: Simon Skinner, Chief Executive for NTS, exploring Glen Mor. Copyright Peter Davies.
Below:Dominic Driver, Head of Natural Heritage for NTS and Fiona Hyslop, MSP and Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, enjoying the sunshine and a packed lunch. Copyright Dominic Driver.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the amazingly extraordinary volunteers that has been such a great help to us this summer: Rob Gower, Dasha Murray, David Ackroyd, Cathy Hooper, Hugh Barton, Nick Gower and John Sikorski. Thank you for all the laughs and all your hard work!
Volunteer Nick Gower assisting the sheepies with the tagging of two very late twins. Copyright Jill Pilkington.