Mention St Kilda to many a sailor and they will come over all misty eyed. Then they will either regale you with tales of epic adventures out to this far-flung Atlantic outpost, or get even more misty eyed because – like my late sailor father – they never made it out to this semi-mythical ocean escape. The good news is that you don’t need to be a salty old sea dog, or go on a stay aboard expedition trip, to savour this unique experience and fulfil your lifelong dream.
It is no wonder that so many people want to venture out to this ultra remote archipelago. St Kilda swirls in an intoxicating sense of natural and human drama. Indeed it became the first place in the world to be recognised on UNESCO’s World Heritage List twice. Yes twice! St Kilda remains the only place in the UK with a dual listing.
St Kilda is on UNESCO’s coveted list for its unique human heritage – it was occupied until 1930s by a community who had little regard, or use for, modern British ways of living. Owned by the MacLeods of Dunvegan from the Isle of Skye for hundreds of years, the archipelago’s long and fascinating history far pre-dates this, and many visitors to the islands are keen to learn more about their ancestors.
A globally important seabird and sea mammal reserve, St Kilda is also inscribed on UNESCO’s list for its natural treasures. These deeply dramatic islands are home to northwest Europe’s largest seabird colony, which includes the UK’s largest colony of Atlantic puffin, northern fulmar and one of the world’s largest gannet colonies.
In short St Kilda is unutterably unique. As a travel writer I am very appreciative that my job has allowed me to manage what my dad never did and venture across the 40 miles of open ocean that separates St Kilda from the Outer Hebrides. In 2013 the archipelago became more accessible with the launch of Go to St Kilda trips from Uig on the Isle of Skye – an island that feels like Manhattan in comparison. These give you the option of a day trip, or even a night camping on one of the most remote islands in the British Isles. If you’ve always dreamed of visiting St Kilda, what are you waiting for?
*This blog comes in association with Go to St Kilda.
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