Fiona Rintoul – writer, journalist, translator

Tag: St Kilda

St Kilda: cleits and clichés

Posted on July 11th, by admin in Travels from Tinseltown. No Comments

While out walking near Huisnis on the Isle of Harris on a particularly clear day last summer, my husband Pete and I caught sight of St Kilda – a mesmerising silvered smudge on the horizon. It’s easy to think you’ve seen St Kilda, only to discover later that you were contemplating some other outer isles that do not excite the imagination in the same way. That day there was no mistake; those distant vertiginous outlines could be nowhere else. We realised then both how stupid and wrong our previous ‘sightings’ had been, and that it was inevitable we would now go to St Kilda.

We travelled there in mid-June aboard the MV Cuma, a restored 12-berth former marine research vessel operated out of Uig on the Isle of Lewis by Murdo Macdonald, a former fisherman and sure-handed skipper. The Cuma chugs across the permanent swell between the Outer Hebrides and St Kilda at a stately pace, allowing passengers to grasp something of the archipelago’s remoteness.

“It is St Kilda’s shimmering farawayness that constitutes its allure”

Along with its haunting human history – Hirta, the main island of the St Kilda archipelago, was inhabited for 4,000 years until the 1930 evacuation – it is … Read More »