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Banoffie Pie & Coconuts on Hirta

20 August 2017
There’s been a fair whirr of activity lately for the island’s main inhabitants- the Soay sheep. A pair of extremely cute twin lambs were born very late this season on 29 July.

Early August saw the arrival of our annual party of sheep researchers or 'Sheepies', who breathe new life into the village street. The sheep study has been running since 1985, and looks at the population dynamics, health & fitness of the island’s unique Soay sheep. This primitive breed are thought to have been on St Kilda for around 3,000 years, and were brought across from Soay to Hirta, to keep the island trim after its evacuation in 1930. In collaboration with Craig Stanford, the Trust’s resident archaeologist, the team have been erecting netted enclosures around village bay.

For a few days, the old Feather Store (which once housed the islanders’ rent payments of fulmar feathers & oil), becomes a hub of scientific enquiry. Blood samples are processed into the early hours for genetic analysis. To date, 162 sheep have been processed– not bad going, considering the nimble creatures have to first be caught!

One of our sunnier days allowed the team to complete their annual sheep count, confirming the current population to be 1813. The NTS team were a bit spoiled when invited up for dinner the other evening. Very impressive culinary effort indeed guys!

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