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Bat recorded for the first time on St Kilda
Norman John Gillies, born Hiort, St Kilda 22nd May 1925, died 29 September 2013, Cambridge
Isle paint St Kilda – search for artists in residence starts
Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award Winner 2012: Best destination for conserving architectural heritage
Disposable Brides - a Radio Scotland programme looks at the fate of Lady Grange who was kidnapped by her husband and exiled on St Kilda
St Kilda material on UNESCO website
St Kilda Day 2009
St Kilda Conservation Issues - July 2009
Trust concerns over MoD move off St Kilda
St Kilda - LIVE WEBCAST
St Kilda - Plockton Gallery
Wee Kilda Guide!
Hiort - Islands in the Mind
Changing Lives - An exhibition to commemorate the evacuation of St Kilda in 1930
Dual World Heritage Status For Unique Scottish Islands
Marine Environment Gains World Heritage Protection
New museum display
Current Research on St Kilda
Approved Body Status
Ministry of Defence lease
World Heritage Site Update
Gaelic version of St Kilda website
Poem Boats
Poison in Paradise
Perceptions of St Kilda
St Kilda Management Plan 2002-2007
Portfolio Presented to the Trust
New books on St Kilda and the Hebrides

Bat recorded for the first time on St Kilda

1st July 2014

Bat recorded for the first time on St Kilda
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-28105541

Norman John Gillies, born Hiort, St Kilda 22nd May 1925, died 29 September 2013, Cambridge

3rd October 2013

Norman John Gillies, born Hiort, St Kilda 22nd May 1925, died 29 September 2013, Cambridge
http://www.scotsman.com/news/obituaries/obituary-norman-john-gillies-painting-and-decorating-department-manager-1-3122548

Isle paint St Kilda – search for artists in residence starts   

Isle paint St Kilda – search for artists in residence starts

10th April 2013

With its dramatic vistas, stark beauty and splendid isolation, St Kilda is a dream destination for many artists. This summer, two artists will be given the chance to take up ‘residence’ on the remotest archipelago in the UK.

The National Trust for Scotland and Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre on North Uist have launched a call for artists to apply for two residency spots –this summer. Funded by the Year of Natural Scotland, the residencies are open to visual artists from all over the world, working in a variety of mediums.

St Kilda is in the care of conservation charity the National Trust for Scotland – it is the UK’s only mixed World Heritage Site. In recent years, artists it has been visited by artists including Norman Ackroyd RA, Thomas Joshua Cooper and Claire Harkess.

St Kilda Property Manager Susan Bain said:

“The beauty, mythology and atmosphere of St Kilda have inspired many artists over the years. We hope that this opportunity attracts artists who can present a fresh take on the wild coastlines, fascinating history and unique heritage of this special place.”

The resulting works will be exhibited at Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre as part of their The Fragility of Flight project in 2014.

This programme commenced in 2005 and from 27 April till 27 July 27, Taigh Chearsabhagh will host an exciting exhibition of ornithological/environment-themed contemporary artwork from artists all over the world, including some from the Outer Hebrides. Artists include Claudia Losi, Dalziel + Scullion, Takaya Fuji, Edwyn Collins, Andrea Roe, Steve Dilworth and Deirdre Nelson.

For more information and to apply , download the packs and application form below.

Related Files

St Kilda residency application (DOC - 355 KB)
St Kilda residency guidelines (PDF - 3.28 MB)

Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award Winner 2012: Best destination for conserving architectural heritage

8th November 2012

St Kilda was recognised as the Best Destination for Architectural Heritage at the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards held in London yesterday.

The judges saw the National Trust for Scotland's work in St Kilda, the UK's only mixed-World Heritage site - important to both the cultural and natural heritage of the World - as a good example of the contribution which tourism can make to the maintenance of built cultural heritage in remote areas.

http://www.responsibletravel.com/awards/winners/2012.htm#destination

Disposable Brides - a Radio Scotland programme looks at the fate of Lady Grange who was kidnapped by her husband and exiled on St Kilda

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00zm4wf

St Kilda material on UNESCO website

See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10620788

St Kilda Day 2009

St Kilda Day 2009

St Kilda Conservation Issues

July 2009

Why St Kilda is so important:

St Kilda is one of the UK’s most important heritage sites. St Kilda is the UK’s only Mixed World Heritage Site, renowned for both its outstanding natural and cultural heritage. There are only 25 sites in the world with both natural and cultural listing status.

Owned by the conservation charity since 1957, St Kilda is one of the North East Atlantic’s most important seabird colonies and includes the world’s largest colony of Northern gannets.

The archipelago is so remote that distinct species have developed there – both the St Kilda wren and the St Kilda field mouse are unique to the island. The Soay sheep are a rare survival of the most primitive breed in Europe and are especially important for their genetic purity, ensured by their isolation.

With evidence of civilisation dating back more than 2000 years, the island provides a rich and intriguing archaeological record of island life. It also provides a window into a unique and extinct way of life experienced by the islanders who finally evacuated this remote place in 1930.

The island is popular with visitors –this year around 5000 people are expected – many from cruise ships or charter boats. Visitors are stunned by the remoteness and the beauty of this wild place with its dramatic landscape of towering cliffs and sea stacks, and many develop deep attachments to it, becoming lifelong supporters.

Why we are concerned:

  1. Threat to natural environment

    We believe that the decision to unman the station on St Kilda could pose a real threat to its unique natural environment.

    Without year round staffing, there is an increased risk that boats and passengers could deliberately or unwittingly introduce species and parasites that would have a devastating effect on St Kilda’s seabirds, the Soay sheep population and the island’s plantlife too.

    In addition, the response time for any incidents would increase significantly – any shipwreck could bring with it the risk of oil spills and invasive species such as rats.

  2. Threat to archaeology and built environment
  3. Similarly, the impact for the islands’ important archaeological features and buildings could also be at risk of damage and vandalism if the island is not staffed all year round.

    Winter storm damage, if not dealt with immediately, could mean expensive and extensive repairs are needed to the built environment – particularly in Village Bay.

    There is also the risk that important archaeological sites could be vandalised or damaged unintentionally, harming our ability to analysis and learn from these important remains.

  4. Future management

    The possible move by the MoD to making St Kilda an unmanned operation means the Trust is reconsidering its arrangements for the management of St Kilda, including, whether there will be Trust staff and researchers on the island for part of the year or all year round.

    The impacts each option will have on the island’s heritage as well as the logistics and costs of each of these options are being looked into and assessed. In addition, the costs associated with the MoD returning the buildings they presently occupy to the Trust is also being carefully looked at, as this is expected to be considerable.

  5. Financial implications

    It is certain that the decision by the MoD to make their operation on Hirta un-manned would result in a significant increase in costs for the conservation charity and potentially other Government departments. We are currently scoping this in detail, however, this could amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds per year.
    Main areas of added expense would arise from:

    • Increased staffing costs;
    • Increased travel costs;
    • Costs incurred in maintaining buildings returned to the Trust.

What we are asking for:

  • Full and careful consideration of the implications for the island’s heritage of making the MoD’s operation on St Kilda unmanned;
  • Support from the MoD in the event of any withdrawal to mitigate the risk factors identified – both financial and practical.

What happens next:

  • The Trust is part of the Taskforce who are currently considering the implications of the MoD’s proposals on the Western Isles as a whole and will represent St Kilda and its heritage/conservation interests.
  • The Trust is preparing a full impact assessment of the current MoD proposals on the island’s heritage which will inform the Trust’s consultation response to the MoD.

Questions and answers:

Why does the Trust need the MoD?
The service agreement that we have with QinetiQ means we have access to equipment and skills which we would otherwise have to provide for ourselves - medical care, electricians, plumbers, regular and frequent transport links.

Doesn’t the withdrawal mean that the MoD buildings will finally be removed from Hirta?
No. The MoD will need to retain a number of buildings to maintain even an unmanned operation. The other buildings will revert back to Trust ownership. The Trust will carry out a full assessment to ascertain the significance of the buildings and this will help determine their future. It is possible that the Trust may need to continue operating these buildings or some of them, especially if the island is manned by Trust staff and researchers all year round.

What about community buy-out?
This seems like an unlikely development. It is unclear which community would lead this process and would demand considerable investment in time and resources as well as the necessary skills to manage the heritage in accordance with its World Heritage Status and other designations.

Is there any risk of St Kilda losing its World Heritage Status?
The Trust and its partners are committed to meeting the obligations for this Mixed World Heritage Site. While the MoD’s move will make it more challenging for the Trust and partners to maintain the site, we are confident that our important work here can continue to the same high standard with support from the Scottish & UK Governments and their Agencies.

Trust concerns over MoD move off St Kilda

17 June 2009

The National Trust for Scotland has said that it will struggle to maintain the UK’s only Dual World Heritage Site, St Kilda, if the Ministry of Defence (MoD) approve proposals to unman their operations on St Kilda.

The MoD today began a 30 day consultation on the future operation of its base on Hirta, the largest island in the St Kilda archipelago. The proposals could mean that personnel would be removed from the base.

Conservation charity, the National Trust for Scotland, which has owned St Kilda since 1957, says that moving to an unmanned operation could result in damage to the features which have seen the archipelago listed as one of only 25 Dual World Heritage Sites in the world.

St Kilda is a Dual World Heritage Site, designated for both is natural and cultural significance. It is one of the north-east Atlantic’s most significant seabird colonies, which includes the largest gannet colony in the world. It also has a wealth of archaeological remains which give evidence of a unique island life dating back thousands of years.

The National Trust for Scotland is concerned that significant damage could occur in the winter months if the island were unstaffed. Damage to buildings and monuments by storms or vandalism could go unchecked and potential environmental damage from introduced species from passing boats would put the World Heritage Site at risk.

The move to an unmanned operation would also significantly increase costs for the conservation charity who share vital services with the MoD facility, make travel to and from the island more difficult and restrict the available accommodation for essential contractors.

National Trust for Scotland Chief Executive Kate Mavor said:

“St Kilda is one of the world’s natural and cultural treasures and the Trust is very privileged to have such an important site in its care. We are very concerned by the possibility that the base on Hirta would no longer be manned. Without the support of the MoD and the infrastructure that they have in place there, there is no doubt that we would find it very difficult to give St Kilda the level of care and attention that it requires.
“The Trust would also face a massive increase in costs to maintain our work there and to deal with the redundant MoD buildings. At a time when the organisation is working hard to improve its financial sustainability, this is a cost that we can ill afford. However, of more concern is the risk that this proposal poses to the environmental and cultural treasures which make St Kilda so special. I would urge the MoD to give full consideration to these issues, before making any final decision.”

 

National Trust for Scotland Press Office. Contact Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr on 0844 493 2483/ 07713 786 277

Editor’s Notes:

The National Trust for Scotland is one of Scotland’s leading conservation charities, which relies on the financial support of its members to fund its important work of caring for the natural and cultural heritage of Scotland for everyone to enjoy.

You can join the National Trust for Scotland for as little as £5 per month for a family. To become a member, visit http://www.nts.org.uk/Join/Benefits/.

St Kilda - LIVE WEBCAST

kilda logoGASD

boy"St Kilda: A European Opera," is an international music-theatre new media production based on the story of St Kilda. Live satellite links between St Kilda and each venue allows for a tantalising glimpse of these spectacular islands, which is woven into this vibrant and contemporary creative collaboration.

'S e riochdachadh eadar-nàiseanta de theatar-ciùil nuadh-mheadhan a tha ann an "Hiort: Opara Eòrpach" a tha stèidhichte air sgeulachd Hiort.  Tha ceanglaichean-saideil beò, eadar Hiort agus gach àite sa bheil an riochdachadh air a shealltainn, a' toirt cothrom inntinneach air blasad fhaighinn de na h-eileanan mhìorbhaileach seo, 's tha iad air am fighe a-steach dhan cho-obrachadh làidir, chruthachail seo bhon là an-diugh. 

 

 

 

There are still some tickets left, so if you are interested please kildabook your tickets soon - online through www.thebooth.co.uk or from An Lanntair (01851 703307). The BBC will be showing a live webcast of the production on Friday night - go to www.bbc.co.uk/stkildaopera and watch this incredible project from anywhere in the world.
Tha tiocaidean air fhàgail fhathast is ma tha ùidh agad annkilda glèidh do thiocaidean an-dràsta fhèin -air-loidhne tro www.thebooth.co.uk no bhon Lanntair (01851 703307). Bidh am BBC a' sealltainn webcast beò den taisbeanadh air oidhche Haoine - rach gu www.bbc.co.uk/stkildaopera agus coimhead a' phròiseact iongantach seo bho àite sam bith den t-saoghal.

 

 

 

dancers

 

 

Please pass this on to everyone you know so that they can become part of the global audience for this unique production. This is your chance to be part of it so don't forget to log on next Friday (22nd) at 20.20 GMT.
Cuir seo air adhart gu do charaidean uile gus am bi iad nam pàirt den luchd-amhairc cruinne airson an taisbeanaidh shònraichte seo. Seo do chothrom a bhith nad phàirt dheth is mar sin na dìochuimhnich a dhol air loidhne an ath Dhihaoine (22mh) aig 20.20 GMT.

 

 

Le gach deagh dhùrachd


Sgioba Hiort - The St Kilda Team
Website / Larach - lin
Myspace
Tickets (Scotland) / Tiocaidean (Alba)


St Kilda - Plockton Gallery

Claire Harkess RSW

9th June - 8th July 2007
Open daily 10am - 10 pm

St Kilda

This new exhibition of paintings by Claire Harkess documents both the starkness and the beauty of the island of St Kilda. These poetic water colour paintings are not reflections of a photographic vision but offer instead an artist’s impression and personal response to this extreme, inhospitable landscape and the birdlife it sustains. The images created are the visual expression of ideas of transience and endurance, balance and precariousness, darkness and light, and through them Claire reveals the essence of this hostile environment and allows the viewer to enter into the spirit of the place.

www.plocktongallery.com
The Plockton Gallery
The Manse,
Innes Street,
Plockton
IV52 8TW

tel/fax: +44(0)1599 544442
mob: 07747 777601


Gannets

Wee Kilda Guide!

31 May 2006

The Wee Kilda Guide, a part of our site designed with children in mind, has been launched on Wednesday 31st May 2006.

The guide is full of pictures and sounds of all the wildlife currently found on St. Kilda, as well as the history of this island group and its people.  There's even a fun quiz to test how much you've learned!  So what are you waiting for?   Click here to check it out for yourself.

Hiort - Islands in the Mind

20 August - 22 October 2005
Museum nan Eilean
Sgoil Lionacleit
Benbecula

The exhibition Hiort - Islands in the Mind explores how people today react to St Kilda and how others in the past have responded to visiting the archipelago.

In July 2005 a number of people employed on Hiort were asked what made St Kilda special for them and what connected them to the place. Their varied responses have been used as a starting point for the display.

Numerous visitors to the islands from previous centuries have recorded their perceptions of Hiort. Several have been included in this exhibition to highlight the many different attitudes that people had to St Kilda. These range from an early account by Martin Martin in 1698 to 20th century writers such as Hammond Innes and Robert Atkinson.

Artefacts and images, with an association to the island, have been drawn from the collections of Museum nan Eilean, the National Trust for Scotland and Inverness Museum & Art Gallery and used in the exhibition to illustrate their stories.

For more information about the display Hiort - Islands in the Mind please contact:-

Dana MacPhee
Museums Officer
Museum nan Eilean
Tel. 01870 602864
dmacphee1a@fnes.net


Visitors


Mail

Changing Lives - An exhibition to commemorate the evacuation of St Kilda in 1930

St Kilda: Changing Lives - An exhibition to commemorate the evacuation of St Kilda in 1930 4th - 31st August 2005 at the National Trust for Scotland, Wemyss House, 28 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh. Admission Free. Click here for more information

Dual World Heritage Status For Unique Scottish Islands

Click here for the press release

Marine Environment Gains World Heritage Protection

The St Kilda World Heritage Site has been extended to include the surrounding marine environment by the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) World Heritage Committee at a meeting in Suzhou, China. Read the press release issued by National Trust for Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Executive and Comhairle nan Eilean

New museum display

The museum in House 3 got a new look in 2003. Colourful new information panels and display cabinets tell the story of St Kilda's history and natural wonders.



Current Research on St Kilda

2003 saw continuing research on a wide range of topics from seabird numbers and dietary specializations of Great Skuas to archaeological excavations and DNA profiling of Soay sheep.

A summary of research projects undertaken on St Kilda in 2003 (pdf format, 251KB)
To view and print PDF documents you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0. Download it for free.

Approved Body Status

On the 9th October 2003 the National Trust for Scotland was awarded Approved Body status to take on the full management responsibilities of the National Nature Reserve of St Kilda.

Scottish Natural Heritage has worked in partnership with the Trust to manage this very special site since it came into Trust ownership in 1957, and became a National Nature Reserve in 1957. Due to its unique natural heritage, St Kilda has required highly specialised skills to ensure the proper management of the islands. Over the last 47 years, SNH has supported the Trust in meeting these management requirements and has helped the Trust develop its specialist management skills and expertise.

Alex Lindsay, Highlands & Islands Director for the National Trust for Scotland said: “We are delighted to have gained recognition for our continued efforts in developing our skills in National Nature Reserve site management and are very pleased to be granted Approved Body status as the organisation wholly responsible for the management of St Kilda. Recently, we have worked closely with SNH and our other partners in the management of St Kilda to produce a comprehensive management plan for the islands and we look forward to continuing to work in partnership to ensure this remarkable place is protected for all time.”

Declaring the Trust an approved body for the St Kilda NNR management, SNH Chief Executive, Ian Jardine, said: “SNH and its predecessors have a long association with St Kilda, working with NTS for over four decades. During this time we have striven to care for this incredible archipelago and its wildlife as a truly spectacular and quite unique asset, both naturally and culturally. It has always been among the most outstanding of Scotland’s National Nature Reserves. As a World Heritage Site, the management of St Kilda attracts international attention and scrutiny, and this carries with it a great deal of responsibility. I am delighted to confirm the National Trust for Scotland as an approved body for the management of St Kilda NNR and look forward to supporting the Trust in this very important role.”

Ministry of Defence Lease

The Ministry of Defence and the National Trust for Scotland have signed a new lease, safe-guarding the natural and cultural heritage of St Kilda for a further 25 years.
The signing marks a declaration of intent by both organisations, to ensure the ongoing special care and protection of the World heritage Site. St Kilda is already a World Heritage Site for its natural heritage, and a nomination has been submitted to UNESCO for double World Heritage status to include its cultural heritage as well as recognising the quality of the marine environment.

The MoD first occupied the base on Hirta in 1957, the year after the islands were gifted to the Trust by the 5th Marques of Bute. At this time the Army’s rocket testing range near Benbecula was being established and today, the radar and other facilities on St Kilda are used as a testing and evaluation station as part of the missile range on South Uist. These activities are currently managed by the Ministry’s agents, QinetiQ, Ltd.

World Heritage Bid Update

In February 2003 the Scottish Executive presented a revised nomination to UNESCO seeking further World Heritage inscription under the Natural Heritage and Cultural Landscapes categories in recognition of the outstanding heritage of the islands and the unique example of Scottish history and culture that the islands represent.
In October 2003, an Assessor working on behalf of UNESCO was accompanied to St Kilda by Robin Turner, NTS Head of Archaeology and by a representative of the Scottish Executive. A window in otherwise very stormy weather allowed the small party to successfully get to and from the islands, and unseasonably warm conditions meant that the main island of Hirta was able to be thoroughly explored.

The Assessor asked many questions about the way the islands are managed, and was able to compare what has been written in the Management Plan and in the Renomination Document with what she saw. Although the Assessor's report will not be available until spring 2004, it seems that she was impressed by the place and also by the management regime of the partners who run the islands. The bid to extend the natural heritage site to include the underwater heritage, and to add the cultural landscape to the World Heritage Site inscription will be heard in late June/early July 2004 at the meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Suzhou, China.

Gaelic Version of St Kilda website - www.hiort.org.uk

To coincide with the anniversary of the evacuation of St Kilda on 29th August 1930, The National Trust for Scotland has launched a Gaelic version of its highly regarded St Kilda website. The new site, www.hiort.org.uk, is an almost exact mirror image of www.kilda.org.uk, and both sites will now continue to grow in parallel.

Robin Turner, NTS Head of Archaeology, who developed the English language version said: “From the very start it was our intention to create a Gaelic version of the St Kilda website. Thanks to the generosity of our funding partners that hope has become a reality. It is entirely appropriate that we now have this superb resource in the native tongue of the last permanent inhabitants of the islands.”

Alex Lindsay, NTS Highlands and Islands Director also expressed satisfaction at this achievement: “The St Kilda website is already one of the richest of its kind, and it was no mean feat to create the Gaelic version. We now have a major new resource for Gaelic speakers and learners in Scotland and indeed all over the world, and we hope the site will help support our vibrant and poetic language.”

The project has had the encouraging support from Western Isles Council and Western Isles Enterprise. The Convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council), Alex MacDonald welcomed the launch: "It is very encouraging for the Comhairle, which champions Gaelic at every opportunity, to see organisations such as the National Trust for Scotland supporting Gaelic in this positive manner. I am sure that this excellent website will be used by Gaels all over the world."

Donnie Macaulay, Chief Executive of Western Isles Enterprise said “WIE are committed to supporting the development of Gaelic version websites to benefit not only Gaels in Scotland but for Gaels worldwide, to enable them to log onto the web and be able to read about Scottish places and events in Gaelic. The Western Isles, Skye & Lochalsh LEADER+ programme operates a Community Website scheme to assist projects of this nature, which make the products of rural areas more competitive through the use of new technologies.”

Both websites will continue to be regularly updated with news and articles about St Kilda - its past, present and future. Work is also in progress for the next big addition to the sites: a Kid’s Area, to be developed by local children working (and playing!) with staff from the National Trust for Scotland.

Poem Boats

Exhibition at Art Gallery and Museum, Kelvingrove, Glasgow
12 June - 21 July 2002

When making and exhibiting art there is very little left to chance. Work is developed and controlled to look, and be seen in a certain way. The 'poem boats' were created to allow the element of chance into the artist's work. They are small hand carved wooden vessels, made by artist Douglas Robertson, inspired by the St Kilda mail boat in Kelvingrove Museum. On the outside of each boat there is a small poem by Valerie Gillies, Ian Stephen, Kevin MacNeil, or Douglas Robertson himself. They also contain a small object to do with the writer, or the theme of the boat.

Later this year they will be launched from places at the same latitude as St Kilda (58° 50' N). They will then be at the mercy of the wind and tides, carrying them to who knows where, or to whom. If they do come ashore the objects will be kept by whoever finds them, a small drifter found by a beachcomber on an unknown beach.


Poem Boat

Poem Boat

Poison in Paradise

Scientists from Aberdeen University have found evidence that the inhabitants on the remote Scottish islands of St Kilda unwittingly contaminated the soil, which may have been a factor leading to the evacuation of the islands in 1930.

Professor Andy Meharg and his team have been studying samples of soil from different parts of Hirta, the main island of the St Kilda archipelago. Samples were collected from grazing lands, from fields, and from midden pits where in the past waste was collected for manuring. Analysis showed that levels of toxic chemicals from some of the fields and from the pits even now remain at high levels - which may have affected the fertility of the land.

The pollution occurred when manuring practices on St Kilda became more intensive. The pollutants - including lead, zinc, cadmium and arsenic - can mainly be attributed to the use of seabird carcasses in the manure that was spread across the village fields.

Prof. Meharg explains: 'Tens of thousands of birds were captured each year, so a considerable amount of waste was generated. Seabirds tend to have elevated levels of a range of potentially toxic metals in their organs. When traveller Martin Martin visited in 1697 he commented on the island's fertility, but a deterioration in the crops is recorded by the mid-18th century. Our samples from the field systems show chemical concentrations that would be considered unsuitable for agriculture under modern UK legislation because the foodstuffs might be harmful to health.'

Robin Turner, Senior Archaeologist for the islands' owners The National Trust for Scotland, is amazed at the results of the survey: 'Up to now we thought of St Kilda as an idyllic society living in blissful harmony with nature. The demise of the community is always blamed on external pressures, firstly from the landlord, then from visitors and latterly from the increased expectations of the population. Now we can see that the islanders were unwittingly poisoning the soil on which they relied. This makes the story even more interesting for us today. The message is: not only do we need to live in harmony with our environment, but we need to be very sure that any apparently sensible changes we make don't have unexpected side-effects. It is even more ironic that this community might have been affected like this by their principal natural resource - one that had sustained them for hundreds if not thousands of years.'

These results have led to a major research award from the Leverhulme Trust. Over the next few years, this which will allow Prof. Meharg and his team to compare St Kilda with other islands which housed communities with a strong reliance on birds - especially Mingulay and Foula. Scientists from Aberdeen and Stirling Universities will also be able to use samples from recent archaeological excavations on St Kilda to follow the contamination pattern back in time.





Gannets nesting on the summit slopes of Stac Lee. Using the internal organs and bones of thousands of seabirds for fertilising the soil eventually caused a build up of potentially harmful chemicals in the soil.

Photograph: Jim Vaughan

Perceptions of St Kilda

Jill Bullington, a researcher from the University of Illinois, is studying how people from different backgrounds viewed the remote island community in the past, and is looking for help:

"I am an anthropologist trying to determine out how St Kilda was viewed by members of other communities in the Outer Hebrides prior to its evacuation in 1930. Thus far, I have had difficulty locating Hebridean materials about St Kilda. My primary sources have been (1) back issues of the Stornoway Gazette, (2) materials written by residents of St Kilda (mostly long-term visitors from the mainland), and (3) materials written by short-term visitors (again mostly from the mainland). Because most visitors to St Kilda were fascinated by its isolation and the difficulty of life there, they had little to say about its social place within the Hebrides. Although this could mean that St Kilda had no such place, it could also mean that this aspect of St Kilda was ignored because it was not of interest to visitors and/or was inconsistent with their focus upon St Kilda's isolation. In recent discussions at St Kilda management plan meetings held by the NTS on Benbecula and Harris, residents of the Western Isles have expressed a strong interest in St Kilda. Could anyone direct me to sources that might reflect how residents of the Outer Hebrides felt about St Kilda prior to 1930? These could include letters, journals, family stories or anything else possibly relevant to the question in either English or Gaelic (which I will arrange to have translated). Any help would be most appreciated."

If you think you can help with this interesting project, please contact Jill at: bullingtn@uiuc.edu.


St Kilda Management Plan 2002-2007

Tell us what you think about how St Kilda should be managed in the future.

The current St Kilda Management Plan expires in 2001 and a new five-year plan for 2002 - 2007 now needs to be prepared. Management Plans are a vital tool for the management of any property: they set out agreed objectives for the conservation and presentation of a site, and the work of agreeing objectives brings together people with different views to find, wherever possible, a common way forward. Your views will be a valuable part of this process, so we have set aside a special part of this website to keep you informed and to invite you to give your opinions: Management Plan Consultation.

A draft of the new St Kilda Management Plan will accompany the June 2002 nomination to extend the World Heritage Site status of the property to its marine natural heritage and cultural landscape. (See the earlier news item on World Heritage Site Status for more information on this.)

For a summary of the Benbecula meeting, click HERE.

Portfolio Presented to the Trust

Artists from Dundee Contemporary Arts Studio have presented The National Trust for Scotland with an Artists' Proof of a new work, The St Kilda Portfolio. The piece was created following a visit to the islands as part of an archaeological Work Party, and has been added to the Trust's collection of artistic and cultural material inspired by St Kilda and its story. For further details, click HERE





The Hirta Portfolio
Photograph: Susan Wilson

New books on St Kilda and the Hebrides

New from Token publishing Soldiering on St Kilda by James Mackay,

In this new work by Dr James Mackay St Kilda is looked at as never before - from the standpoint of the soldiers who served there on National Service from 1959 to 1961. At age 23 he became the only Lieutenant to command the island and probably the only non-gunner ever to command an artillery unit. With its 150 pages of riveting reading and over 100 photographs never before published, this is a book that will appeal to everyone who has an interest in National Service, the Royal Artillery, the Military History of the British Isles or of course the marvelous island of St Kilda itself.

£29.95 ISBN 1 870 192 48 6



New from Colin Baxter Photography Ltd. St Kilda

This absorbing guide by David Quine with photographs by Colin Baxter paints a vivid picture of the islands' landscape and natural history. The author also draws from contemporary accounts over the centuries to give an insight into the history of the people who once lived here

£3.75 ISBN 1 84107 083 1



Expeditions to the Hebrides by George Clayton Atkinson in 1831 and 1833, edited by David A. Quine, MacLean Press, Skye, 2001

One hundred and seventy years after being written in the diary of young traveller George Clayton Atkinson, author David Quine and Maclean Press have published what must surely become a classic account of the Western Isles in the first part of the 19th century.

Although a typescript of part of the text was already available in the NTS St Kilda archives, few of the illustrations that accompanied it had ever been seen. Years of detective work eventually paid off, when David Quine discovered the original manuscript journal plus around 100 illustrations of Atkinson's remarkable journey to St Kilda in 1831. Quine knew it had to be published, but neither he nor the publishers, Maclean Press, were prepared to compromise in the production of the book, insisting that all of the illustrations must go in, and all in colour. The result is a fascinating and perceptive account of Atkinson's journey (and of another made in 1833), beautifully illustrated by a collection of superb contemporary illustrations of the people they met and of the scenes they encountered.

The book is a must for anyone interested in St Kilda or the Hebrides, or for those who would like an insight into Scottish life in the early 19th century. It is a joy to look at and a fascinating read.

£25.00 ISBN 1 899272 06 2

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