St Kilda – the Atlantic Jewel and World Heritage Site
Posted on Aug 26, 2013 by Phillip Blase
St Kilda – The most westerly point of the UK
St Kilda or Hirta lies some 110 miles West of the Scottish mainland, 41 miles West of Uist in the Outer Hebrides and is the UK’s most Westerly territory with the most Westerly point on the island being Canbir at a Lat and long of 570 49.6’ N 0080 36.9’ W overlooking Soay. The St Kilda archipelago enjoys dual World Heritage status and is the only place in Gt Britain to do so and one of only 24 globally. The island is owned by the National Trust for Scotland and managed by the Trust, the MOD, Historic Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage.
Proudly boasting the highest sea cliffs and stacks in Britain, the largest populations of Fulmars and Puffins along with the biggest Gannet colony in the world it is no wonder the island has so many designations, such as (SAC) Special Area of Conservation, (SSSI) Site of Special Scientific Interest (NSA) National Scenic Area, (SPA) Special Protection Area, and (NNR) National Nature Reserve. People have probably inhabited the island for the last 2 thousand years with the last St Kildans being evacuated at their own request to the British government in 1930, they left the island on HMS Harebell to be relocated on the West Coast of Scotland.
The ocean around this most beautiful of Scottish islands is warmed by the Gulf stream and has crystal clear deep waters with numerous spectacular caves, cliffs and arches which are popular with Sea kayakers and Divers alike. St Kilda is a very special place indeed with rich heritage. Access onto and around the island is covered by the Scottish Outdoor Access Code which should be fully respected. Things to see and do on the island include walking amongst the primitive Soay sheep which are found nowhere else in the world. Looking around the village with the old street, bird watching or admiring some of the 1400 cleits (food storage huts) dotted all over the island.
How to get there
St Kilda can be reached by boat and time taken to get there varies from 4 hrs to 4 days depending on your boat, the weather and point of departure. Special Sea Kayaking Trips are organised and run by charting a boat and crew along with a guide to take you there, around the Island and back (weather permitting). One thing is for sure, those who make the effort to visit St Kilda will have memories to treasure of a very special place.
Have You Been to St Kilda?
Have you been to St Kilda or do you desperately want to experience the beautiful remoteness of this incredible archipelago? Talk to us about your travels in the comment box below.
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