Early morning in Harris
It was a very. very early morning for me, but it was so worth it! I was lucky enough to go on a day trip to St. Kilda – the magical island in the Atlantic ocean I had read so much about.
This was the important phone call I had to climb a hill for the day before, the weather was fine, there was an open spot and I could join this boat trip.
St. Kilda is a group of islands about 50 miles from Harris, in 1930 the remaining 36 people living in Hirta (part of the St. Kilda archipelago) were evacuated, leaving the islands behind for the bird colonies. Today St Kilda is the only place in the UK holding two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Today the National Trust for Scotland cares for the islands.
But let´s start with my early morning. I booked my tour with Kildacruises and we were leaving from Leverburgh at 8 am. It was around a one-hour drive from my accommodation to Leverburgh and it was such a stunning morning. The roads were empty, the light was magical and I stopped so many times to admire the views!
At the harbour in Leverburgh I met some of the other travellers admiring an eagle, but I was kind of too excited getting on the boat to really give the eagle my full attention.
There are a few boats going to St Kilda, two tours from Harris and I also think one from Skye. The drive from Harris took around 3 hours and it was an adventure itself. We had the most amazing weather, the sea was calm and we were just sitting on the outside of the boat admiring Harris going by and then the wide emptiness of the Atlantic sea.
Our boat was arriving to pick us up.
The boat trip
Bye Harris for, we drove by islands, gorgeous beaches and the Harris mountains.
We were a group of 12 people and started to get to know each other during the journey to St Kilda. And we were in for a surprise, the four ladies, who were admiring the eagle before, were actually celebrating the 50th anniversary of their first time going to St. Kilda.
50 years ago their schools organized “Work Parties” and the teenagers and students were staying for a few weeks on Hirta helping to restore the cottages and other buildings.
Oh, the stories they told us!
It is still possible to work as a volunteer for a few weeks in St Kilda, these programs were just paused during Covid.
Arriving in St Kilda
After about 2 and a half hours we go our first glimpse of St Kilda.
Stac Lee to the Left and Hirta to the right.
Driving towards the beach of Hirta and the landing zone.
To my surprise there was quite a lot going on in St Kilda – in my head, it was uninhabited with just a few National Trust rangers and scientists in the summertime. But there is also a military base in St Kilda and they were building new buildings that blend in with the landscape.
Back on land, watching the weekly helicopter arrive.