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Visiting St Kilda

St Kilda is a very special place and we would like to keep it that way. To do this, we need your help to avoid bringing pests and diseases to the archipelago that threaten its unique ecosystem. Both the islands and the sea around them are a World Heritage Site. The introduction of alien species is known to be the greatest threat to island ecosystems around the world.

Here are some of St Kilda’s special features that might be at risk:

Seabirds
The islands are home to the largest seabird colony in the north-east Atlantic and benefit from a lack of ground predators. The introduction of predators, particularly rats and mink, would have a devastating effect. Rats are often found on ships and can stow away in cargo and supplies, especially food.

  • Do not bring vessels with closed cabins alongside at the pier. Come ashore in open tenders which are easier to check are free of rats.
  • Ensure that all stores landed are in closed containers and are checked for signs of rats.

Plants
St Kilda has a unique, but restricted flora. The St Kilda Dandelion is known only from here. Plants that are common on the mainland may be absent from St Kilda and it is important to avoid bringing in seeds. Plant diseases are often spread in mud or dead leaves.

  • Scrub your boots and equipment clean of mud before landing on St Kilda.

Sheep
The native Soay sheep are remarkable relics of sheep domesticated in the Iron Age or even earlier. They could be decimated by the introduction of disease. Some diseases are spread in dog faeces.

  • We would rather you do not bring dogs and pets ashore.

Marine Life
Although you seldom see it, the marine life on the reefs and underwater caves around St Kilda is spectacular. Many of the coastal areas of mainland Scotland are threatened by introduced species such as the carpet sea-squirt and Japanese wire-weed. Carpet sea squirt are already established in some marinas from Largs to Loch Creran. If they arrived here they could smother and destroy our native marine life. There are limited ways in which these can reach this remote archipelago but transfer on the hulls of boats, on anchors and in ballast water are possible.

  • Ensure that the hulls of all vessels visiting St Kilda are regularly antifouled and are free of growth of fouling organisms.
  • Ensure that anchors and chains used are rinsed free of mud and other material before entering St Kilda waters.
  • Ensure that no ballast or bilge water is pumped out in St Kilda waters.

Travel to St Kilda with the National Trust for Scotland cruise
http://www.nts.org.uk/culturalcruising

Advice for Visitors

Download St Kilda WHS – English
Download St Kilda WHS – Gàidhlig
Download St Kilda WHS – Deutsch



Getting to St Kilda is not easy, but those who are persistent can find a variety of ways to achieve their goal.

Many visits to St Kilda begin in the Western Isles, you may wish to find out more about this fascinating area and plan your trip by visiting www.culturehebrides.com

Usually visitors get to St Kilda by joining one of the following:

Cruise Ships
Charter Boats
Visit by Yacht
Camping
Work Parties


Boreray and the Stacs in heavy seas

Photograph: Rohan Holt

Cruise ships

Several large cruise ships visit St Kilda every year, often including the National Trust for Scotland Cruise. As the itineraries change every year an internet search is probably the easiest way to check.

Cruise Department
The National Trust for Scotland
Hermiston Quay
5 Cultins Rd
Edinburgh
EH11 4DF
E-mail cruises@nts.org.uk
www.nts.org.uk/Cruises

The supplier list above is for your information only. It is the responsibility of those wishing to visit the islands to obtain further information on the services provided by these companies. The Trust cannot be held responsible for the service you receive.

Cruise ship in Village Bay

Photograph: Glasgow Museums

 

Day trips and longer charters     (click for a list of boat operators)

Day trip boats leave from the Western Isles and Skye, boats offering longer trips leave from various ports, including Mallaig and Oban. For details of times and prices, you should contact the boat operators directly. The journey time is dependent on weather and tide conditions, as well as the type of boat chartered.

 

Visits by yachts

Visitors are welcome to travel to St Kilda by sea using their own transport, such as a private boat or yacht. It is helpful if independent travellers contact the Trust with details of intended travel plans, particularly details of landing and departure times.

The National Trust for Scotland
Balnain House
40 Huntly Street
Inverness
IV3 5HR
Tel: 01463 232034

PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING POINTS:

  • You are welcome to come ashore at any time using the jetty in Village Bay, Hirta.
  • All visitors are asked to contact the Ranger on arrival - by using your vessel’s VHF radio - call sign "Kilda Warden", Channel 12 or 16. (Please be considerate if you arrive at an unsocial hour).
  • Dogs (and other domesticated animals) are not permitted on the islands.
  • Please try to avoid visiting on Tuesdays and Fridays, as these are supply days.
  • All visitors must come ashore by open tender.
  • Please note there are no moorings in Village Bay.
  • The National Trust for Scotland does not allow the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) on St Kilda

Camping

The only accommodation on the island for visitors is a small campsite, with room for a maximum of 6 people. Visitors may stay for up to 5 nights. They have shared use of showers and toilets and access to a drinking water supply. Please note that there is no mobile phone reception or Wi-Fi or other internet access available on St. Kilda. Booking is essential. You may obtain further details and check availability by contacting:

The National Trust for Scotland
Balnain House
40 Huntly Street
Inverness
IV3 5HR
Tel: 01463 232034
Email: StKildaInfo@nts.org.uk

Bookings for the season can be taken from mid-January each year. We charge £12 per person per night for the facilities and ask that you pay the Ranger directly.

© The National Trust for Scotland