h.Sources of expertise and training in conservation and management techniques

The St Kilda Warden is skilled and experienced in visitor management and as National Nature Reserve warden is expected to have a special nature conservation interest and expertise. The Warden is a qualified first aider, and usually obtains a boat-handling certificate before going to the islands. The Warden was until recently managed from and will continue to have close links with the SNH Area Office on South Uist, where staff have specific statutory responsibilities related to the nature conservation and other designations.

The Street, Hirta

Staff in the Uist Office of the Western Isles Area of SNH are graduates (zoology, anthropology and biological sciences) with considerable experience in the biology, history, monitoring and management of remote offshore islands. This office also manages the Monach Isles NNR, 6km west of North Uist, and staff have undertaken expeditions to all the major offshore islands around the Hebrides and elsewhere and maintain good working relationships with NTS staff, the Range staff in Benbecula, boat operators etc. Furthermore, Advisory Services specialist staff are called upon when necessary. Staff within the Maritime Group are all graduates of marine biology or related topics and have considerable experience in developing and implementing management and monitoring schemes on designated marine sites. SNH was heavily involved in a large EU LIFE Programme funded project to develop management techniques for marine SACs and this has resulted in a wide range of products designed to inform and assist all those involved in developing such schemes. Other related initiatives exist, such as the Marine Life Information Network project (MarLIN), which is providing accessible and understandable advice on the sensitivities and management options for marine biotopes through the web.

Cultural Heritage

The St Kilda Archaeologist is a qualified and experienced archaeologist, with proven skills in archaeological fieldwork and abilities in interpreting the historic environment. Training is given in first aid and usually also boat handling, and further training in drystone dyking techniques, and in the use of lime mortar in building repairs is also usually given. Professional guidance is given by the NTS Highlands and Islands Region Archaeologist, a qualified and experienced archaeologist with wide-ranging expertise. An agreed programme of continuing professional development is provided. Advice may also be given by the Trust’s Senior Archaeologist, based at Head Office in Edinburgh. As the head of a conservation discipline, this person will be a highly experienced archaeologist of national standing.

The St Kilda Archaeologist also benefits from the input of the NTS Highlands and Islands Region Building Surveyor, who is a qualified surveyor with extensive experience in the conservation of historic structures. The Regional Building Surveyor is responsible for managing the maintenance and repair of the historic buildings of St Kilda, and may call upon the advice of the Trust’s Senior Buildings Advisor based in Edinburgh.

Archaeological and historic buildings conservation advice and guidance is also available from the Historic Scotland Inspector of Ancient Monuments and District Architect for the area. Further advice is available from Historic Scotland’s regional Monument Conservation Unit, and from the Technical Conservation, Research and Education Division of Historic Scotland based in Edinburgh.

The St Kilda Archaeologist also benefits from the advice of the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Archaeologist, and of the Historic Scotland Field Monuments Warden for the area. Further advice is available from the NTS Regional Countryside Manager and Regional Conservation Manager.