For most visitors, the fascination of St Kilda lies in the combination of spectacular natural phenomena linked to the almost tangible atmosphere of the remains of human settlement. The remains of these buildings, cleitean and walls erected by the now absent St Kildans, are a very influential feature of the landscape, providing as they do a physical link to the existence of the people. They provide the imagination with an idea of how the St Kildans might have lived, reliant on the natural resources of the islands and challenged at every turn by the isolation and climate of the place.

Juxtaposed against these poignant remains are the Army camp buildings in Village Bay, the masts and radomes of the radar sites on Mullach Mor and Mullach Sgar, and the remains of the quarry opened to extract road building materials. These provide a startling reminder of the presence and influence of modern humans on St Kilda and may appear to some as intrusive and undesirable for this reason as for their physical appearance.

The most common way of reaching St Kilda is by boat and the views of the archipelago from a vessel moving between the stacs or around the cliffs, will reinforce the dramatic impacts of its islands. The sheer scale of the islands arouses many of the emotions which are associated with their landscape and which give St Kilda its special ‘spirit of place’.