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50th Anniversary for the National Trust for Scotland on St Kilda

Fifty years ago the archipelago of St Kilda was bequeathed to the National Trust for Scotland by the Earl of Dumfries.

Looking back over the last five decades the Trust, along with many volunteers, worked to protect the islandís unique beauty...

In the 1950s

Since the summer of 1958 parties of volunteers have spent their holidays on St Kilda working, rain or shine, to conserve the islands cultural and natural heritage. Mainly these Work Parties have focused on restoring and maintaining six of sixteen cottages along the Main Street in Village Bay. These cottages have provided rustic shelter for volunteers and researchers since the 1950s.

In the 1960s

St Kilda is renowned for its stunning cultural and natural history, which the National Trust for Scotland continues to safeguard through research and conservation. Behind the scenes are teams of volunteers, researchers, scientists, and military personnel all working (and playing) together.

In the 1970s

In the 1970s a few St Kildans were able to capture on camera their memories of their island home on boat tours around the island. It is always an emotional experience when St Kildans revisit the island years after their evacuation. A few, like Finlay MacQueen, returned to see their homes in the 1930s soon after they had left for the mainland. Amongst the few St Kildans to return to the island in recent years was Norman Gillies in 2005.

In the 1980s

Amongst the many archaeological discoveries on Hirta in the 1980s was this skeleton of a cow unearthed near a cleit just beyond the Head Dyke. Since the 1980s many archaeological teams have returned to St Kilda to explore its rich cultural history through excavation, survey, geophysics, soil sampling and palaeobotany. Archaeological research on the island brings us closer to understanding the mysterious lives of St Kildans through the centuries - and bring us closer to appreciating their rich culture.

In the 1990s

In 1992 St Kilda was designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for its vegetated sea cliffs and marine interest. In previous years the islands had been designated a National Nature Reserve (1957), a National Scenic Area (1981), a Site of Special Scientific Interest (1984), and a natural World Heritage Site (1987). The islandsí beauty is, without a doubt, breathless.

And now ...

...the National Trust for Scotland is celebrating the islands of St Kilda and their many stunning features. As a designated Dual World Heritage Site, St Kilda is now recognised as significant on a global scale both for its natural and cultural heritage. More than ever the Trust is working together to conserve the sheer beauty and powerful history of one of Scotlandís greatest treasures, and look forward to the next 50 years: its challenges and joys!

© The National Trust for Scotland