|St Kilda, Scotland|
|St Kilda, Scotland shown within Scotland.|
|OS grid reference:||NF095995|
|Norse name:||Possibly Skildir|
|Meaning of name:||Unknown, possibly Gaelic for "westland"|
|Area and Summit|
|Area:||854. The British national grid reference system is a system of geographic grid references commonly used in Great Britain, different from using Latitude and Longitude Scottish Gaelic ( Gàidhlig) is a member of the Goidelic branch of Celtic languages. Old Norse is the North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age 6 ha|
|Highest elevation:||Conachair 430 m|
|Population (2001):||Uninhabited since 1930|
|Main settlement:||Am Baile (the Village)|
|Island Group:||St Kilda|
|Local Authority:||Comhairle nan Eilean Siar|
St Kilda (Scottish Gaelic: Hiort) is an isolated archipelago 64 kilometres (40 mi) west-northwest of North Uist in the North Atlantic Ocean. Scotland covers an area of 78782 km² or 30341 mi², giving it a Population density of. For local government purposes Scotland is divided into 32 areas designated as "council areas" which are all governed by unitary authorities designated as Elections General elections to the council are held on a four year cycle A geographic coordinate system enables every location on the Earth to be specified in three coordinates using mainly a spherical coordinate system. Scottish Gaelic ( Gàidhlig) is a member of the Goidelic branch of Celtic languages. An archipelago (ɑrkəˈpɛləgoʊ is a chain or cluster of Islands The word archipelago literally means "chief Sea " from Italian North Uist ( Scottish Gaelic: Uibhist a Tuath) is an island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. It contains the westernmost islands of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The Outer Hebrides, ( officially known for local government purposes by the Gaelic name Na h-Eileanan Siar) comprise an island Scotland ( Gaelic: Alba) is a Country in northwest Europethat occupies the northern third of the island of Great Britain.  The largest island is Hirta, whose sea cliffs are the highest in the United Kingdom. Not to be confused with Hitra Hirta ( Scottish Gaelic language Hiort) is the largest island in the St Kilda archipelago The Gaelic-speaking population probably never exceeded 180 and was never more than 100 after 1851. Although St Kilda was permanently inhabited for at least two millennia, and despite the inhabitants' unique way of life, the entire population was evacuated in 1930. The only residents are now military personnel.  The islands are administratively a part of the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar local authority area. Elections General elections to the council are held on a four year cycle 
The origin of the name St Kilda is a matter of conjecture. The islands' human heritage includes numerous unique architectural features from the historic and prehistoric periods, although the earliest written records of island life date from the Late Middle Ages. The Late Middle Ages is a term used by historians to describe European history in the period of the 14th and 15th centuries (AD 1300–1499 The medieval village on Hirta was rebuilt in the 19th century, but the influences of religion, tourism and the First World War contributed to the island's evacuation in 1930. World War I (abbreviated WWI; also known as the First World War, the Great War, and the War to End All  The story of St Kilda has attracted artistic interpretations, including a recent opera. Opera is an art form in which Singers and Musicians perform a Dramatic work (called an opera which combines a text (called a Libretto 
The entire archipelago is owned by the National Trust for Scotland. The National Trust for Scotland (NTS ( Scottish Gaelic: Urras Nàiseanta na h-Alba) describes itself as the conservation charity that protects and promotes It became one of Scotland's four World Heritage Sites in 1986 and is one of the few in the world to hold joint status for its natural, marine and cultural qualities. A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a site (such as a Forest, Mountain, Lake, Desert, Monument, Building, complex  The islands are a breeding ground for many important seabird species including Northern Gannets, Atlantic Puffins, and Northern Fulmars. Seabirds are Birds that have adapted to life within the marine environment The Northern Gannet ( Morus bassanus, formerly Sula bassana) is a Seabird and is the largest member of the Gannet family Sulidae The Atlantic Puffin ( la Fratercula arctica) is a Seabird Species in the Auk family. The Northern Fulmar ( Fulmarus glacialis) or Arctic Fulmar lives in the north Atlantic and north Pacific. The St Kilda Wren and St Kilda Field Mouse are endemic sub-species. The Winter Wren ( Troglodytes troglodytes) also known as the Northern Wren, is a very small Bird, a member of the mainly New World The St Kilda Field Mouse ( Apodemus sylvaticus hirtensis) is a Subspecies of Wood mouse endemic to the Scottish isles of  Parties of volunteers work on the islands in the summer months to restore the many ruined buildings the native St Kildans left behind. They share the island with a small military base created in 1957. 
No saint is known by the name of Kilda, and various theories have been proposed for the word's origin, which dates from the late 16th century.  Haswell-Smith (2004) notes that the full name St Kilda first appears on a Dutch map dated 1666, and that it may have been derived from Norse sunt kelda ("sweet wellwater") or from a mistaken Dutch assumption that the spring Tobar Childa was dedicated to a saint. (Tobar Childa is a tautological placename, consisting of the Gaelic and Norse words for well, i. A place name is tautological if two parts of it are synonymous Scottish Gaelic ( Gàidhlig) is a member of the Goidelic branch of Celtic languages. Old Norse is the North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age e. , "well well").  Martin Martin, who visited in 1697, believed that the name "is taken from one Kilder, who lived here; and from him the large well Toubir-Kilda has also its name". Martin Martin ( Scottish Gaelic: Màrtainn MacGilleMhàrtainn, ?-1719 was a Scottish writer best known for his work A Description of the Western Isles 
Maclean (1972) similarly suggests it may come from a corruption of the Old Norse name for the spring on Hirta, Childa, and states that a 1588 map identifies the archipelago as Kilda. Old Norse is the North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age He also speculates that it may refer to the Culdees, anchorites who may have brought Christianity to the island, or be a corruption of the Gaelic name for the main island of the group, since the islanders tended to pronounce r as l, and thus habitually referred to the island as Hilta. The Culdee, Kuldee or Céli Dé (lit " vassals of God " formed a Monastic order with settlements in Ireland, Scotland Anchorite (male/ anchoress (female (adj anchoritic from the Greek anachōreō signifying "to withdraw" "to depart into the rural countryside"  Steel (1988) adds weight to the idea, noting that the islanders pronounced the H with a "somewhat guttural quality", making the sound they used for Hirta "almost" Kilta. 
Maclean (1972) further suggests that the Dutch may have simply made a cartographical error, and confused Hirta with Skildar, the old name for Haskeir island much nearer the main Outer Hebrides archipelago. Not to be confused with Hyskeir or Heskeir Haskeir (Eilean Hasgeir also known as Great Haskeir (Hasgeir Mhòr is a remote exposed The Outer Hebrides, ( officially known for local government purposes by the Gaelic name Na h-Eileanan Siar) comprise an island  Quine (2000) hypothesises that the name is derived from a series of cartographical errors, starting with the use of the Old Icelandic Skildir ("shields") and appearing as Skildar on a map by Nicholas de Nicolay (1583). Iceland, officially the Republic of Iceland ( ( Ísland or Lýðveldið Ísland ( This, so the hypothesis goes, was transcribed in error by Lucas J. Waghenaer in his 1592 charts without the trailing r and with a period after the S, creating S. Kilda. This was in turn assumed to stand for a saint by others, creating the form that has been used for several centuries, St Kilda. 
The origin of Hirta, which long pre-dates St Kilda, is similarly open to interpretation. Martin (1703) avers that "Hirta is taken from the Irish Ier, which in that language signifies west".  Maclean offers several options, including an (unspecified) Celtic word meaning 'gloom' or 'death', or the Scots Gaelic h-Iar-Tir ("westland"). Drawing on an Icelandic saga describing an early 13th-century voyage to Ireland that mentions a visit to the islands of Hirtir, he speculates that the shape of Hirta resembles a stag, Hirtir ("stags" in Norse). The Sagas of Icelanders ( Icelandic: Íslendingasögur)&mdashmany of which are also known as family sagas &mdashare prose histories describing Ireland (pronounced /ˈaɾlənd/ Éire) is the third largest island in Europe, and the twentieth-largest island in the world A deer is a Ruminant Mammal belonging to the family Cervidae.  Steel (1998) quotes the view of Reverend Neil Mackenzie, who lived there from 1829 to 1844, that the name is derived from the Gaelic I-Àrd (English: "high island"), and a further possibility that it is from the Norse Hirt ("shepherd").  In a similar vein, Murray (1966) speculates that the Norse Hirðö, pronounced 'Hirtha' ("herd island"), may be the origin.  All the names of and on the islands are fully discussed by Coates (1990). 
The islands are composed of Tertiary igneous formations of granites and gabbro, heavily weathered by the elements. The chuprichondira geological time interval covers roughly the time span between the demise of the non- avian Dinosaurs and beginning of the most recent Ice Age, approximately Igneous rocks (etymology from Latin ignis, fire are rocks formed by solidification of cooled Magma (molten rock Granite (ˈɡrænɪt is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, Felsic, igneous rock. Gabbro (ˈɡæbrəʊ is a dark coarse-grained intrusive Igneous rock chemically equivalent to Basalt. The archipelago represents the remnants of a long-extinct ring volcano rising from a seabed plateau approximately 40 metres (130 ft) below sea level. 
At 670 ha (1,656 acres) in extent, Hirta is the largest island in the group and comprises more than 78% of the land area of the archipelago. Not to be confused with Hitra Hirta ( Scottish Gaelic language Hiort) is the largest island in the St Kilda archipelago Next in size are Soay (English: 'sheep island') at 99 ha (247 acres) and Boreray ('the fortified isle'), which measures 77 ha (190 acres). Soay is an uninhabited island in the St Kilda Archipelago, Scotland. Not to be confused with Boreray North Uist Boreray ( Gaelic: Boraraigh) is an uninhabited Island in the  Soay is 0. 5 kilometres (0. 3 mi) northwest of Hirta, Boreray 6 kilometres (4 mi) to the northeast. Smaller islets and stacks in the group include Stac an Armin ('warrior's stack'), Stac Lee ('grey stack') and Stac Levenish ('stream' or 'torrent'). For human anatomy see Islets of Langerhans An islet is a small Island. A stack is a geological Landform consisting of a steep and often vertical column or columns of rock in the sea near a coast Stac an Armin ( or Stac an Àrmainn (the proper Scottish Gaelic spelling formerly àrmuinn) meaning "stack of the soldier/warrior" Stac Lee ( Scottish Gaelic: Stac Liath, the grey stack 172 metres NA142049 is an Island in St Kilda, Scotland that appears to be Stac Levenish or Stac Leibhinis (sometimes simply called "Levenish/Leibhinis" is a Sea stack in St Kilda Scotland.  The island of Dùn ('fort'), which protects Village Bay from the prevailing southwesterly winds, was at one time joined to Hirta by a natural arch. Dùn (or "Dun" without the diacritic is one of the St Kilda archipelago MacLean (1972) suggests that the arch was broken when struck by a galleon fleeing the defeat of the Spanish Armada, but other sources, such as Mitchell (1992) and Fleming (2005), provide the more credible (if less romantic) explanation that the arch was simply swept away by one of the many fierce storms that batter the islands every winter. A galleon was a large multi-decked Sailing ship used primarily by the nations of Europe from the 16th to 18th centuries The Spanish Armada ( Spanish: Grande y Felicísima Armada, "Great and Most Fortunate Navy" or Armada Invencible, "Invincible 
The highest point in the archipelago, Conachair ('the beacon') at 430 metres (1,411 ft), is on Hirta, immediately north of the village. In the southeast is Oiseval ('east fell'), which reaches 290 metres (951 ft), and Mullach Mòr ('big hill summit') 361 metres (1,185 ft) is due west of Conachair. Ruival ('red fell') 137 metres (449 ft) and Mullach Bi ('pillar summit') 358 metres (1,192 ft) dominate the western cliffs. Boreray reaches 384 metres (1,260 ft) and Soay 378 metres (1,240 ft).  The extraordinary Stac an Armin reaches 196 metres (643 ft), and Stac Lee, 172 metres (564 ft), making them the highest sea stacks in Britain. A stack is a geological Landform consisting of a steep and often vertical column or columns of rock in the sea near a coast 
In modern times, St Kilda's only settlement was at Village Bay (Scottish Gaelic: Bàgh a' Bhaile or Loch Hiort) on Hirta. Scottish Gaelic ( Gàidhlig) is a member of the Goidelic branch of Celtic languages. Gleann Mòr on the north coast of Hirta and Boreray also contain the remains of earlier habitations.  The sea approach to Hirta into Village Bay suggests a small settlement flanked by high rolling hills in a semi-circle behind it. This is misleading.  The whole north face of Conachair is a vertical cliff up to 427 metres (1,400 ft) high, falling sheer into the sea and constituting the highest sea cliff in the UK. 
Indeed, the archipelago is the site of what many consider the most spectacular sea cliffs in the British Isles. Baxter and Crumley (1988) suggest that St Kilda: ". . . is a mad, imperfect God's hoard of all unnecessary lavish landscape luxuries he ever devised in his madness. These he has scattered at random in Atlantic isolation 100 miles from the corrupting influences of the mainland, 40 miles west of the westmost Western Isles. He has kept for himself only the best pieces and woven around them a plot as evidence of his madness. "
Although 64 kilometres (40 mi) from the nearest land, St Kilda is visible from as far as the summit ridges of the Skye Cuillin, some 129 kilometres (80 mi) distant. Stac Levenish or Stac Leibhinis (sometimes simply called "Levenish/Leibhinis" is a Sea stack in St Kilda Scotland. Skye or the Isle of Skye ( Scottish Gaelic An t-Eilean Sgitheanach əɲ tʰʲelan s̪kʲiə This article is about the Cuillin of Skye See Rùm for the Cuillin of Rùm  The climate is oceanic with high levels of rainfall (1,400 mm or 55 in) and humidity. Temperatures are generally cool, averaging 5. 6°C (42. The Celsius Temperature scale was previously known as the centigrade scale. 1°F) in January and 11. Fahrenheit is a temperature scale named after Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686–1736 a German Physicist who proposed it in 1724 8 °C (53. 2 °F) in July. The prevailing winds, especially strong in winter, are southerly and southwesterly. Wind speeds average 13 kilometres per hour (8 mph) approximately 85 percent of the time and more than 24 kilometres per hour (15 mph) more than 30 percent of the time. (For the South African airport with IATA code "KMH" see Johan Pienaar Airport. Gale force winds occur less than 2 percent of the time in any one year, but gusts of 185 kilometres per hour (115 mph) and more occur regularly on the high tops, and speeds of 209 kilometres per hour (130 mph) have occasionally been recorded near sea level.  The tidal range is 2. 9 metres (9. 5 ft), and ocean swells of 5 metres (16. 4 ft) frequently occur, which can make landings difficult or impossible at any time of year.  However, the oceanic location protects the islands from snow, which lies for only about a dozen days per year. 
The archipelago's remote location and oceanic climate are matched in the UK only by a few smaller outlying islands such as the Flannan Isles, North Rona, Sula Sgeir, and the Bishop's Isles at the southern edge of the Outer Hebrides. The Flannan Isles ( Scottish Gaelic: Na h-Eileanan Flannach, nə helanən flˠ̪an̪ˠəx are a small Island group in the Outer Hebrides of Rona (or Rònaidh in Gaelic) is a remote Scottish Island in the North Atlantic. Sula Sgeir ( Scottish Gaelic based on the Old Norse: súla, "gannet" and sker, "skerry" is a small uninhabited The Barra Isles, also known as the Bishop's Isles as they were historically owned by the church are a small Archipelago of islands in the Outer Hebrides Administratively, St Kilda was part of the parish of Harris in the traditional county of Inverness-shire. This is a list of the 871 civil parishes in Scotland. From 1845 to 1930 parishes formed part of the Local government system of Scotland having Harris ( Na Hearadh in Scottish Gaelic nə hɛɾəɣ is the southern part of the largest island of the Western Isles of Scotland or Outer Inverness-shire also known as the county of Inverness or Siorrachd Inbhir Nis in Gaelic, was a general purpose county of Scotland,  Today it is incorporated in the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles) unitary authority. Elections General elections to the council are held on a four year cycle See also Independent city A unitary authority is a type of Local authority that has a single tier and is responsible for all Local government functions
St Kilda is a breeding ground for many important seabird species. Seabirds are Birds that have adapted to life within the marine environment The world's largest colony of Northern Gannets, totalling 30,000 pairs, amount to 24 percent of the global population. The Northern Gannet ( Morus bassanus, formerly Sula bassana) is a Seabird and is the largest member of the Gannet family Sulidae There are 49,000 breeding pairs of Leach's Petrels, up to 90 percent of the European population; 136,000 pairs of Atlantic Puffins, about 30 percent of the UK total breeding population, and 67,000 Northern Fulmar pairs, about 13 percent of the UK total. The Leach's Storm-petrel or Leach's Petrel ( Oceanodroma leucorhoa) is a small Seabird of the Tubenose family The Atlantic Puffin ( la Fratercula arctica) is a Seabird Species in the Auk family. The Northern Fulmar ( Fulmarus glacialis) or Arctic Fulmar lives in the north Atlantic and north Pacific.  Dùn is home to the largest colony of Fulmars in Britain. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located Prior to 1828, St Kilda was their only UK breeding ground, but they have since spread and established colonies elsewhere, such as Fowlsheugh. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located Fowlsheugh is a Coastal Nature reserve in Kincardineshire, northeast Scotland, known for its seventy metre high cliff formations and habitat supporting  The last Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis) seen in Britain was killed on Stac an Armin in July 1840. The Great Auk, Pinguinus impennis, formerly of the Genus Alca, is a Bird that became extinct in the mid-19th century  Unusual behaviour by St Kilda's Bonxies was recorded in 2007 during research into recent falls in the Leach's Petrel population. The Great Skua, Stercorarius skua, is a large Seabird in the Skua family Stercorariidae Using night vision gear, ecologists observed the skuas hunting petrels at night, a remarkable strategy for a seabird. 
Two animal taxa are unique to St Kilda: a subspecies of Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes hirtensis) and a subspecies of Wood Mouse known as the St. Kilda Field Mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus hirtensis). The Winter Wren ( Troglodytes troglodytes) also known as the Northern Wren, is a very small Bird, a member of the mainly New World The wood mouse ( Apodemus sylvaticus) also called the long-tailed field mouse, is a common Rodent that was recognised as a distinct species in 1894 The St Kilda Field Mouse ( Apodemus sylvaticus hirtensis) is a Subspecies of Wood mouse endemic to the Scottish isles of The third taxon endemic to St Kilda, a subspecies of House Mouse known as Mus musculus muralis, vanished completely after the evacuation of human inhabitants, as it was strictly associated with settlements and buildings. The House Mouse ( Mus musculus) is one of the most numerous species of the genus Mus commonly termed a Mouse. The St Kilda House Mouse ( Mus musculus muralis) was a Subspecies of the House mouse found only in the St Kilda Archipelago in  It had a number of traits in common with a sub-species (Mus musculus mykinessiensis) found on Mykines island in the Faroe Islands. Mykines is the western-most of the main 18 islands in the Faroe Islands. The Faroe Islands or Faeroe Islands or simply Faroe(s or Faeroes (Føroyar meaning " Sheep Islands" Færøerne Old Norse The grey seal now breeds on Hirta but did not do so before the 1930 evacuation. 
The St Kildans kept up to 2,000 sheep, which were removed at the time of the evacuation, but a herd of 107 indigenous Soay sheep were transferred onto Hirta from Soay and now live in a feral state. Soay sheep are a primitive breed of Domestic sheep ( Ovis aries) descended from a population of Feral sheep on the 250-acre island of Soay in A feral organism is one that has escaped from Domestication and returned partly or wholly to its wild state Soay sheep are a very primitive breed that do not require shearing. Sheep shearing, shearing or clipping is the process by which the woollen fleece of a Sheep is cut off Numbers vary from 600 to 1,700 on Hirta, and 200 remain on Soay.  A few have been exported to form breeding populations in other nations, where they are valued for their hardiness and small size.  On Hirta and Soay, they prefer the plantago pastures, which grow well in locations exposed to sea spray and include Red Fescue, Sea Plantain and Sea Pink. Plantago is a Genus of about 200 species of small inconspicuous plants commonly called plantains. Sea spray is a Spray of Water that forms when Ocean waves crash Fescue ( Festuca) is a Genus of about 300 Species of perennial tufted Grasses belonging to the grass family Poaceae Plantago is a Genus of about 200 species of small inconspicuous plants commonly called plantains. Marsh Daisy redirects here For the chicken breed see Marsh Daisy (chicken Armeria maritima is the Botanical name for  The sheep remaining on Boreray are a Blackface/Old Scottish Shortwool cross with no wool on the face or lower legs but a thicker fleece than the Soay breed. The Scottish Blackface is the most common breed of Domestic sheep in the United Kingdom. 
The archipelago's isolation has resulted in a lack of biodiversity. Biodiversity is the variation of Life forms within a given Ecosystem, Biome or for the entire Earth. Only 58 species of butterfly and moth occur on the islands, compared to 367 recorded on the Western Isles. A butterfly is an Insect of the order Lepidoptera. Like all Lepidoptera butterflies are notable for their unusual life cycle with a A moth is an Insect closely related to the Butterfly, both being of the order Lepidoptera. The Outer Hebrides, ( officially known for local government purposes by the Gaelic name Na h-Eileanan Siar) comprise an island  Plant life is heavily influenced by the salt spray, strong winds and acidic peaty soils. Peat is an accumulation of partially Decayed Vegetation matter. No trees grow on the archipelago, although there are more than 130 different flowering plants, 162 species of fungi and 160 bryophytes. A fungus (ˈfʌŋgəs is a eukaryotic Organism that is a member of the kingdom Fungi (ˈfʌndʒaɪ Bryophytes are all Embryophytes ('land Plants) that are non-vascular: they have tissues and enclosed reproductive systems but they lack Vascular tissue Several rarities exist amongst the 194 lichen species. Lichens (ˈlaɪkən or /lɪtʃən/ are symbiotic associations of a Fungus (the mycobiont with a photosynthetic partner (the photobiont also known as Kelp thrives in the surrounding seas, which contain a diversity of unusual marine invertebrates. Kelp are large Seaweeds ( Algae) belonging to the Brown algae and classified in the order Laminariales 
The beach at Village Bay is unusual in that its short stretch of summer sand recedes in winter, exposing the large boulders on which it rests. A survey of the beach in 1953 found only a single resident species, the crustacean isopod Eurydice pulchra. Isopods are one of the most diverse orders of Crustaceans with many species living in all environments but are most common in shallow marine waters 
The predominant theme of life on St Kilda was isolation. When Martin Martin visited the islands in 1697, the only means of making the journey was by open longboat, which could take several days and nights of rowing and sailing across the open ocean and was next to impossible in autumn and winter. Martin Martin ( Scottish Gaelic: Màrtainn MacGilleMhàrtainn, ?-1719 was a Scottish writer best known for his work A Description of the Western Isles In all seasons, waves up to 12 metres (40 ft) high lash the beach of Village Bay, and even on calmer days landing on the slippery rocks can be hazardous. Cut off by distance and weather, the natives knew little of the rest of the world. After the Battle of Culloden in 1746, it was rumoured that Prince Charles Edward Stuart and some of his senior Jacobite aides had escaped to St Kilda. The Battle of Culloden (Blàr Chùil Lodair (16 April 1746 was the final clash between the French-supported Jacobites and the Hanoverian For the US politician see Charles E Stuart For "Betty Burke" see The 'Forty-Five' below Jacobitism was (and to a limited extent remains the political movement dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland An expedition was launched, and in due course British soldiers were ferried ashore to Hirta. They found a deserted village, as the St Kildans, fearing pirates, had fled to caves to the west. When the St Kildans were persuaded to come down, the soldiers discovered that the isolated natives knew nothing of the prince and had never heard of King George II either. George II (George Augustus 10 November 1683 &ndash 25 October 1760 was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg ( 
Even in the late 19th century, the islanders could communicate with the rest of the world only by lighting a bonfire on the summit of Conachair and hoping a passing ship might see it, or by using the "St Kilda mailboat". The mailboat was the invention of John Sands, who visited in 1877. John Sands (1826–1900 of Ormiston was a Scottish freelance Journalist and artist who also had an interest in Archaeology and folk customs During his stay, a shipwreck left nine Austrian sailors marooned there, and by February supplies were running low. Sands attached a message to a lifebuoy salvaged from the Peti Dubrovacki and threw it into the sea.  Nine days later it was picked up on the Orkney island of Birsay, and a rescue was arranged. Orkney (also known as the Orkney Islands or incorrectly the Orkneys) is an Archipelago in northern Scotland, situated 10 miles (16 km north Birsay ( Old Norse: Birgisherað)is a Parish in the north west corner of The Mainland of Orkney, Scotland. The St Kildans, building on this idea, fashioned a piece of wood into the shape of a boat, attached it to a bladder made of sheepskin, and placed in it a small bottle or tin containing a message. Launched when the wind came from the northwest, two-thirds of the messages were later found on the west coast of Scotland or, less conveniently, in Norway. Norway ( Norwegian: Norge ( Bokmål) or Noreg ( Nynorsk) officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Constitutional 
Another significant feature of St Kildan life was the diet. The islanders kept sheep and a few cattle and were able to grow a limited amount of food crops such as barley and potatoes on the better-drained land in Village Bay. Barley ( Hordeum vulgare) is an annual Cereal Grain, which serves as a major animal Feed crop, with smaller amounts used for The potato is a Starchy Tuberous crop Vegetable from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae Samuel Johnson reported that in the 18th century sheep's milk was made "into small cheeses" by the St Kildans. Samuel Johnson (often referred to as Dr Johnson) (18 September  They eschewed fishing due to the heavy seas and unpredictable weather. The mainstay of their food supplies was the profusion of island birds, especially gannet and fulmar. These they harvested as eggs and young birds and ate both fresh and cured. Adult puffins were also caught by the use of fowling rods. Fowling is a term which is perhaps better known in The Fens of eastern England than elsewhere  However, this feature of island life came at a price. When Henry Brougham visited in 1799 he noted that "the air is infected by a stench almost insupportable – a compound of rotten fish, filth of all sorts and stinking sea-fowl". Henry Peter Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux (1778 - 1868 was a British Statesman who became Lord Chancellor of the United Kingdom  An excavation of the Taigh an t-Sithiche (the 'house of the faeries' – see below) in 1877 by Sands unearthed the remains of gannet, sheep, cattle and limpets amidst various stone tools. The building is between 1,700 and 2,500 years old, which suggests that the St Kildan diet had changed little over the millennia. Indeed the tools were recognised by the St Kildans, who could put names to them as similar devices were still in use. 
These fowling activities involved considerable skills in climbing, especially on the precipitous sea stacks. An important island tradition involved the 'Mistress Stone', a door-shaped opening in the rocks northwest of Ruival over-hanging a gully. Young men of the island had to undertake a ritual there to prove themselves on the crags and worthy of taking a wife. Martin Martin wrote:
In the face of the rock, south from the town, is the famous stone, known by the name of the mistress-stone; it resembles a door exactly; and is in the very front of this rock, which is twenty or thirty fathom perpendicular in height, the figure of it being discernible about the distance of a mile; upon the lintel of this door, every bachelor-wooer is by an ancient custom obliged in honour to give a specimen of his affection for the love of his mistress, and it is thus; he is to stand on his left foot, having the one half of his sole over the rock, and then he draws the right foot further out to the left, and in this posture bowing, he puts both his fists further out to the right foot; and then after he has performed this, he has acquired no small reputation, being always after it accounted worthy of the finest mistress in the world: they firmly believe that this achievement is always attended with the desired success. This being the custom of the place, one of the inhabitants very gravely desired me to let him know the time limited by me for trying of this piece of gallantry before I design’d to leave the place, that he might attend me; I told him this performance would have a quite contrary effect upon me, by robbing me both of my life and mistress at the same moment. 
Another important aspect of St Kildan life was the daily 'Parliament'. This was a meeting held in the street every morning after prayers and attended by all the adult males during the course of which they would decide upon the day's activities. No one led the meeting, and all had the right to speak. According to Steel (1988), "Discussion frequently spread discord, but never in recorded history were feuds so bitter as to bring about a permanent division in the community".  This notion of a free society influenced Enric Miralles' vision for the new Scottish Parliament Building, opened in October 2004. Enric Miralles Moya (1955 &ndash July 3 2000) was a Catalan Architect. The Scottish Parliament Building (Pàrlamaid na h-Alba is the home of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, within the UNESCO World Heritage Site 
Whatever the privations, the St Kildans were fortunate in some respects, for their isolation spared them some of the evils of life elsewhere. Martin noted in 1697 that the citizens seemed "happier than the generality of mankind as being almost the only people in the world who feel the sweetness of true liberty", and in the 19th century their health and well being was contrasted favourably with conditions elsewhere in the Hebrides. See also Hebrides (disambiguation The Hebrides (ˈhɛbrɨˌdiːz "HEB-ri-deez" Gaelic: Innse Gall) comprise a widespread and diverse  Theirs was not a utopian society; the islanders had ingenious wooden locks for their property, and financial penalties were exacted for misdemeanours.  Nonetheless, no resident St Kildan is known to have fought in a war, and in four centuries of history, no serious crime committed by an islander was recorded there. 
It has been known for some time that St Kilda was continuously inhabited for two millennia or more, from the Bronze Age to the 20th century.  Recently, the first direct evidence of earlier Neolithic settlement emerged—shards of pottery of the Hebridean ware style, found to the east of the village. The Neolithic (from Greek νεολιθικός — neolithikos from νέος neos, "new" + λίθος lithos The subsequent discovery of a quarry for stone tools on Mullach Sgar above Village Bay led to finds of numerous stone hoe-blades, grinders and Skaill knives in the Village Bay cleitan—unique stone storage buildings (see below). These tools are also probably of Neolithic origin. 
The first written record of St Kilda may date from 1202 when an Icelandic cleric wrote of taking shelter on "the islands that are called Hirtir".  Early reports mentioned finds of brooches, an iron sword and Danish coins, and the enduring Norse place names indicate a sustained Viking presence on Hirta, but the visible evidence has been lost.  The first English language reference is from the late 14th century, when John of Fordun mentioned 'the isle of Irte, which is agreed to be under the Circius and on the margins of the world'. John of Fordun (d c 1384 was a Scottish Chronicler. It is generally stated that he was born at Fordoun, Mearns.  The islands were historically part of the domain of the MacLeods of Harris, whose steward was responsible for the collection of rents in kind and other duties. Clan MacLeod is a Highland Scottish clan. The Gaelic form is Clann Mhic Leòid. Harris ( Na Hearadh in Scottish Gaelic nə hɛɾəɣ is the southern part of the largest island of the Western Isles of Scotland or Outer The first detailed report of a visit to the islands dates from 1549, when Donald Munro suggested that: "The inhabitants thereof ar simple poor people, scarce learnit in aney religion, but M’Cloyd of Herray, his stewart, or he quhom he deputs in sic offfice, sailes anes in the zear ther at midsummer, with some chaplaine to baptize bairnes ther. "
The chaplain's best efforts notwithstanding, the islanders' isolation and dependence on the bounty of the natural world meant their philosophy bore as much relationship to Druidism as it did to Christianity until the arrival of Rev. A druid was a member of the priestly and learned class in the ancient Celtic societies Christianity ( Greek Χριστιανισμός from the word Xριστός ( Christ)is a monotheistic Religion centered on the life and teachings John MacDonald in 1822. Macauley (1764) reported the existence of five druidic altars, including a large circle of stones fixed perpendicularly in the ground near the Stallir House on Boreray. Not to be confused with Boreray North Uist Boreray ( Gaelic: Boraraigh) is an uninhabited Island in the 
Coll MacDonald of Colonsay raided Hirta in 1615, removing 30 sheep and a quantity of barley. Colonsay ( Gaelic: Colbhasa is an Island in the Scottish Inner Hebrides, located north of Islay and south of Mull  Thereafter, the islands developed a reputation for abundance. At the time of Martin's visit in 1697 the population was 180 and the steward travelled with a "company" of up to 60 persons to which he: "elected the most "meagre" among his friends in the neighbouring islands, to that number and took them periodically to St. Kilda to enjoy the nourishing and plentiful, if primitive, fare of the island, and so be restored to their wonted health and strength. "
Visiting ships in the 18th century brought cholera and smallpox. Cholera, sometimes known as Asiatic cholera or epidemic cholera, is an infectious Gastroenteritis caused by the Bacterium Smallpox is an Infectious disease unique to humans caused by either of two virus variants named Variola major and Variola minor. In 1727, the loss of life was so high that too few residents remained to man the boats, and new families were brought in from Harris to replace them. Harris ( Na Hearadh in Scottish Gaelic nə hɛɾəɣ is the southern part of the largest island of the Western Isles of Scotland or Outer  By 1758 the population had risen to 88 and reached just under 100 by the end of the century. This figure remained fairly constant from the 18th century until 1851, when 36 islanders emigrated to Australia on board the Priscilla, a loss from which the island never fully recovered. For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Australia topics. The emigration was in part a response to the laird's closure of the church and manse for several years during the Disruption that created the Free Church of Scotland. A Laird (Lord is a Hereditary title for the owner of a landed estate in Scotland. The Disruption of 1843 was a Schism within the established Church of Scotland, in which 450 ministers of the Church broke away over the issue of the Church's 
One factor in the decline was thus the influence of religion. A missionary called Alexander Buchan came to St Kilda in 1705, but despite his long stay, the idea of organised religion did not take hold. This changed when Rev. John MacDonald, the 'Apostle of the North', arrived in 1822. He set about his mission with zeal, preaching 13 lengthy sermons during his first 11 days. He returned regularly and fundraised on behalf of the St Kildans, although privately he was appalled by their lack of religious knowledge. The islanders took to him with enthusiasm and wept when he left for the last time eight years later. His successor, who arrived on 3 July 1830, was Rev. Events 324 - Battle of Adrianople Constantine I defeats Licinius, who flees to Byzantium. For the game see 1830 (board game. Year 1830 ( MDCCCXXX) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display Neil Mackenzie, a resident Church of Scotland minister who greatly improved the conditions of the inhabitants. The Church of Scotland (Eaglais na h-Alba known informally by its Scots language name The Kirk, is the National church of Scotland. He reorganised island agriculture, was instrumental in the rebuilding of the village (see below) and supervised the building of a new church and manse. With help from the Gaelic School Society, MacKenzie and his wife introduced formal education to Hirta, beginning a daily school to teach reading, writing and arithmetic and a Sunday school for religious education. " Sunday school " is the generic name for many different types of Religious education pursued on Sundays by various denominations 
Mackenzie left in 1844, and although he had achieved a great deal, the weakness of the St Kildans' dependence on external authority was exposed in 1865 with the arrival of Rev. John Mackay. Despite their fondness for Mackenzie, who stayed in the Church of Scotland, the St Kildans 'came out' in favour of the new Free Church during the Disruption. The Church of Scotland (Eaglais na h-Alba known informally by its Scots language name The Kirk, is the National church of Scotland. Unfortunately, Mackay, the new Free Church minister, was a religious zealot who may have done more than anyone to destroy the St Kildan way of life. He introduced a routine of three two- to three-hour services on Sunday at which attendance was effectively compulsory. One visitor noted in 1875 that: "The Sabbath was a day of intolerable gloom. At the clink of the bell the whole flock hurry to Church with sorrowful looks and eyes bent upon the ground. It is considered sinful to look to the right or to the left. "
Time spent in religious gatherings interfered seriously with the practical routines of the island. Old ladies and children who made noise in church were lectured at length and warned of dire punishments in the afterworld. During a period of food shortages on the island, a relief vessel arrived on a Saturday, but the minister said that the islanders had to spend the day preparing for church on the Sabbath, and it was Monday before supplies were landed. Children were forbidden to play games and required to carry a Bible wherever they went. The St Kildans endured Mackay for 24 years. 
Tourism had a different but similarly destabilising impact on St Kilda. During the 19th century, steamers began to visit Hirta, enabling the islanders to earn money from the sale of tweeds and birds' eggs but at the expense of their self-esteem as the tourists regarded them as curiosities. Tweed is a rough unfinished Woolen fabric, of a soft open flexible texture resembling Cheviot or homespun, but more closely woven  The boats brought other previously unknown diseases, especially tetanus infantum, which resulted in infant mortality rates as high as 80 percent during the late 19th century. Tetanus is a medical condition that is characterized by a prolonged contraction of Skeletal muscle fibres  The cnatan na gall or boat-cough, an illness that struck after the arrival of a ship to Hirta, became a regular feature of life. 
By the turn of the 20th century, formal schooling had become a feature of the islands, and in 1906 the church was extended to make a schoolhouse. The children all now learned English and their native Gaelic. Improved midwifery skills, denied to the island by Reverend Mackay, reduced the problems of childhood tetanus. Midwifery is a Health care profession where providers give Prenatal care to expecting Mothers attend the birth of the Infant From the 1880s, trawlers fishing the north Atlantic made regular visits, bringing additional trade. A commercial trawler is a commercial Fishing vessel designed to operate fishing trawls. Talk of an evacuation occurred in 1875 during MacKay's period of tenure, but despite occasional food shortages and a flu epidemic in 1913, the population was stable at between 75 and 80, and no obvious sign existed that within a few years the millennia-old occupation of the island was to end. 
Early in the Great War the Royal Navy erected a signal station on Hirta, and daily communications with the mainland were established for the first time in St Kilda's history. QF 45 inch (114 mm gun has been the standard medium-calibre gun used by the Royal Navy as a medium range weapon capable of use against surface aircraft and shore World War I (abbreviated WWI; also known as the First World War, the Great War, and the War to End All The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the oldest of the British armed services (and is therefore known as the Senior Service) In a belated response, a German submarine arrived in Village Bay on the morning of 15 May 1918 and, after issuing a warning, started shelling the island. Events 1252 - Pope Innocent IV issues the Papal bull Ad exstirpanda, which authorizes but also limits the Year 1918 ( MCMXVIII) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common Seventy-two shells were fired, and the wireless station was destroyed. The manse, church and jetty storehouse were damaged, but no loss of life occurred.  One eyewitness recalled: "It wasn't what you would call a bad submarine because it could have blowed every house down because they were all in a row there. He only wanted Admiralty property. One lamb was killed… all the cattle ran from one side of the island to the other when they heard the shots. "
As a result of this attack, a Mark III QF gun was erected on a promontory overlooking Village Bay, but it never saw military use. QF 45 inch (114 mm gun has been the standard medium-calibre gun used by the Royal Navy as a medium range weapon capable of use against surface aircraft and shore Of greater long-term significance to the islanders were the introduction of regular contact with the outside world and the slow development of a money-based economy. This made life easier for the St Kildans but also made them less self-reliant. Both were factors in the evacuation of the island little more than a decade later. 
Numerous factors led to the evacuation. There are two islands named Boreray in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland Boreray North Uist Boreray St Kilda The islands had existed for centuries in relative isolation until tourism and the presence of the military in World War I induced the islanders to seek alternatives to privations they routinely suffered. The authorities were unable (or unwilling) to do much to assist the islanders, although reliable radios and other infrastructure denied to the civilian islanders were later provided for the military base at a cost of millions of pounds.  Despite construction of a small jetty in 1902, the islands remained at the weather's mercy. 
After World War I most of the young men left the island, and the population fell from 73 in 1920 to 37 in 1928.  After the death of four men from influenza in 1926 and a succession of crop failures in the 1920s, the last straw came with the death from appendicitis of a young woman, Mary Gillies, in January 1930. Appendicitis (or epityphlitis) is a condition characterized by Inflammation of the appendix. On 29 August 1930, the last 36 inhabitants were evacuated to Morvern on the Scottish mainland at their own request. Events 708 - Copper coins are minted in Japan for the first time (Traditional Japanese date: August 10, 708) Year 1930 ( MCMXXX) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display 1930 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Not to be confused with Morven Morvern is a peninsula in south west Lochaber, on the west coast of Scotland.
The morning of the evacuation promised a perfect day. The sun rose out of a calm and sparkling sea and warmed the impressive cliffs of Oiseval…. Observing tradition the islanders left an open Bible and a small pile of oats in each house, locked all the doors and at 7 a. m. boarded the Harebell… They were reported to have stayed cheerful throughout the operation. But as the long antler of Dun fell back onto the horizon and the familiar outline of the island grew faint, the severing of an ancient tie became a reality and the St Kildans gave way to tears. 
The islands were purchased in 1931 by Lord Dumfries (later 5th Marquess of Bute), from Sir Reginald MacLeod. John Crichton-Stuart 5th Marquess of Bute ( August 4 1907 &ndash August 14 1956 was the son of John Crichton-Stuart 4th Marquess of Bute Marquess of the County of Bute, shortened in general usage to Marquess of Bute, is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. For the next 26 years the island experienced quietude, save for the occasional summer visit from tourists or a returning St Kildan family. 
The islands took no active part in World War II, during which they were completely abandoned, but three aircraft crash sites remain from that period. World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including A Beaufighter LX798 based at Port Ellen on Islay crashed into Conachair within 100 metres (328 ft) of the summit on the night of 3–4 June, 1943. The Bristol Beaufighter is also the name of a Car produced by Bristol Cars in the 1980s Islay (ˈaɪlə Ìle, ˈiːʎə a Scottish Island, known as "The Queen of the Hebrides" ( Banrìgh nan Eilean) is the southernmost A year later, just before midnight on 7 June 1944, the day after D-Day, a Sunderland flying boat was wrecked at the head of Gleann Mòr. Events 1099 - The First Crusade: The Siege of Jerusalem begins Year 1944 ( MCMXLIV) was a Leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. WikipediaWikiProject Aircraft. Please see WikipediaWikiProject Aircraft/page content for recommended layout A flying boat is a specialised form of Aircraft that is designed to take off from and land on water using its Fuselage as a floating hull. A small plaque in the kirk is dedicated to those who died in this accident.  A Wellington bomber crashed on the south coast of Soay in 1943. WikipediaWikiProject Aircraft. Please see WikipediaWikiProject Aircraft/page content for recommended layout A bomber is a Military aircraft designed to attack ground and sea targets primarily by dropping Bombs on them Not until 1978 was any formal attempt made to investigate the wreck, and its identity has not been absolutely determined. Amongst the wreckage, a Royal Canadian Air Force cap badge was discovered, which suggests it may have been a flight lost on 28 September 1943. Events 48 BC - Pompey the Great is assassinated on orders of King Ptolemy of Egypt after landing in Egypt. Year 1943 ( MCMXLIII) was a Common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. 
In 1955 the British government decided to incorporate St Kilda into a missile tracking range based in Benbecula, where test firings and flights are carried out. Benbecula ( Gaelic: Beinn nam Fadhla peɲəˈvɤːlˠ̪ə is an Island of the Outer Hebrides in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast Thus in 1957 St Kilda became permanently inhabited once again. A variety of military buildings and masts have since been erected, including the island's first licensed premises, the 'Puff Inn'. The Ministry of Defence leases St Kilda from the National Trust for Scotland for a nominal fee. The Ministry of Defence ( MoD) is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters  The main island of Hirta is still occupied year-round by a small number of civilians working in the military base. 
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|State Party||United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland|
|Criteria||iii, v, vii, ix, x|
|Region†||Europe and North America|
|Inscription||1986 (10th Session)|
|* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.|
† Region as classified by UNESCO.
On his death on 14 August 1956, the Marquess of Bute's will bequeathed the archipelago to the National Trust for Scotland provided they accepted the offer within six months. A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a site (such as a Forest, Mountain, Lake, Desert, Monument, Building, complex As of 2008 there are a total of 878 World Heritage Sites located in 145 "State Parties" The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a site (such as a Forest, Mountain, Lake, Desert, Monument, Building, complex This is a list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe. Asia Minor, Cyprus, all of the Aegean Islands, the Canaries A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a site (such as a Forest, Mountain, Lake, Desert, Monument, Building, complex Events 1183 - Taira no Munemori and the Taira clan take the young Emperor Antoku and the three sacred treasures Year 1956 ( MCMLVI) was a Leap year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The National Trust for Scotland (NTS ( Scottish Gaelic: Urras Nàiseanta na h-Alba) describes itself as the conservation charity that protects and promotes After much soul-searching, the Executive Committee agreed to do so in January 1957. The slow renovation and conservation of the village began, much of it undertaken by summer volunteer work parties.  In addition, scientific research began on the feral Soay sheep population and other aspects of the natural environment. In 1957 the area was designated a National Nature Reserve. National Nature Reserve is a United Kingdom government Conservation designation for a Nature reserve of national significance for biological or earth science 
In 1986 the islands became the first place in Scotland to be inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for its terrestrial natural features. United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization ( UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations established on November 16 A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a site (such as a Forest, Mountain, Lake, Desert, Monument, Building, complex  In 2004, St Kilda achieved a joint 'marine' status for its superlative natural features, its habitats for rare and endangered species, and its internationally important population of seabirds.  By 2005 St Kilda thus became one of only two dozen global locations to be awarded World Heritage Status for both 'natural' and 'cultural' significance. The islands share this honour with internationally important sites such as Machu Picchu in Peru, Mount Athos in Greece and the Ukhahlamba/Drakensberg Park in South Africa. Machu Picchu (Machu Pikchu "Old Peak" 'mɑtʃu 'piktʃu is a Pre-Columbian Inca site located 2400 meters (7875 ft above sea level Peru (Perú Piruw Piruw officially the Republic of Peru ( reˈpuβlika del peˈɾu is a country in western South America. Mount Athos (Όρος Άθως is a mountain on the Peninsula of the same name in Macedonia, of northern Greece, called in Greek Άγιον Greece (Ελλάδα transliterated: Elláda, historically, Ellás,) officially the Hellenic Republic (Ελληνική Δημοκρατία The Drakensberg ( Afrikaans: "Dragon's Mountain" Mountains are the highest mountain range in Southern Africa, rising up to in height The Republic of South Africa (also known by other official names) is a country located at the southern tip of the continent of Africa 
The St Kilda World Heritage Site covers a total area of 24,201. A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a site (such as a Forest, Mountain, Lake, Desert, Monument, Building, complex 4 hectares (93. 4 sq mi) including the land and sea. The square mile is an imperial and US unit of Area equal the area of a square of one statute mile.  The land area is 854. 6 hectares (2,111. 8 acres). 
St Kilda is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, a National Scenic Area, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and a European Union Special Protection Area. In the United Kingdom, a Scheduled Monument is a 'nationally important' Archaeological site or historic building given protection against unauthorised change National Scenic Area is a Conservation designation specifically for Scotland, administered by Scottish Natural Heritage. A Site of Special Scientific Interest or SSSI is a Conservation designation denoting a Protected area in the United Kingdom. A Special Protection Area or SPA is a designation under the European Union directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds  Visiting yachts may find shelter in Village Bay, but those wishing to land are told to contact the National Trust for Scotland in advance. Concern exists about the introduction of non-native animal and plant species into such a fragile environment. 
St Kilda's marine environment of underwater caves, arches and chasms offers a challenging but superlative diving experience.  Such is the power of the North Atlantic swell that the effects of the waves can be detected 70 metres (230 ft) below sea level.  In 2008 the National Trust for Scotland received the support of Scotland ’s Minister for Environment, Michael Russell for their plan to ensure no rats come ashore from The Spinningdale, a Spanish fishing vessel grounded on Hirta. The Minister for Environment is a Junior ministerial post in the Scottish Government. Michael Russell (Mike Russell (born 9 August 1953 in Bromley, Kent is a Member of the Scottish Parliament for the South of Scotland There was concern that bird life on the island could be seriously affected.  Fortunately, potential contaminants from the vessel including fuel, oils, bait and stores were successfully removed by Dutch salvage company Mammoet before the bird breeding season in early April. Mammoet a is privately-held Dutch company specialised in hoisting and transporting heavy objects 
The oldest structures on St Kilda are the most enigmatic. Large sheepfolds lie inland from the existing village at An Lag Bho'n Tuath (English: the hollow in the north) and contain curious 'boat-shaped' stone rings, or 'settings'. Soil samples suggest a date of 1850 BC, but they are unique to St Kilda, and their purpose is unknown. In Gleann Mòr, (northwest of Village Bay beyond Hirta's central ridge), there are 20 'horned structures', essentially ruined buildings with a main court measuring about 3 x 3 m (10 ft by 10 ft), two or more smaller cells and a forecourt formed by two curved or horn-shaped walls. Again, nothing like them exists anywhere else in Britain or Europe, and their original use is unknown.  Also in Gleann Mòr is Taigh na Bana-ghaisgich, the 'Amazon's House'. As Martin (1703) reported, many St Kilda tales are told about this female warrior.
This Amazon is famous in their traditions: her house or dairy of stone is yet extant; some of the inhabitants dwell in it all summer, though it be some hundred years old; the whole is built of stone, without any wood, lime, earth, or mortar to cement it, and is built in form of a circle pyramid-wise towards the top, having a vent in it, the fire being always in the centre of the floor; the stones are long and thin, which supplies the defect of wood; the body of this house contains not above nine persons sitting; there are three beds or low vaults that go off the side of the wall, a pillar betwixt each bed, which contains five men apiece; at the entry to one of these low vaults is a stone standing upon one end fix’d; upon this they say she ordinarily laid her helmet; there are two stones on the other side, upon which she is reported to have laid her sword: she is said to have been much addicted to hunting, and that in her time all the space betwixt this isle and that of Harries, was one continued tract of dry land. 
Similar stories of a female warrior who hunted the now submerged land between the Outer Hebrides and St Kilda are reported from Harris. Harris ( Na Hearadh in Scottish Gaelic nə hɛɾəɣ is the southern part of the largest island of the Western Isles of Scotland or Outer  The structure's forecourt is akin to the other 'horned structures' in the immediate area, but like Martin's "Amazon" its original purpose is the stuff of legend rather than archaeological fact.
Much more is known of the hundreds of unique cleitean that decorate the archipelago. These dome-shaped structures are constructed of flat boulders with a cap of turf on the top. This enables the wind to pass through the cavities in the wall but keeps the rain out. They were used for storing peat, nets, corn, preserved flesh and eggs, manure, hay and as a shelter for lambs in winter. The date of origin of this St Kildan invention is unknown, but they were in continuous use from prehistoric times until the 1930 evacuation. More than 1,200 ruined or intact cleitean remain on Hirta and a further 170 on the neighbouring islands.  House no. 16 in the modern village has an early Christian stone cross built into the front wall, which may date from the 7th century. 
A medieval village lay near Tobar Childa, about 350 metres (400 yards) from the shore, at the foot of the slopes of Conachair. The oldest building is an underground passage with two small annexes called Taigh an t-Sithiche (house of the faeries) which dates to between 500 BC and 300 AD. The St Kildans believed it was a house or hiding place, although a more recent theory suggests that it was an ice house. 
Extensive ruins of field walls and cleitean and the remnants of a medieval 'house' with a beehive-shaped annex remain. Nearby is the 'Bull's House', a roofless rectangular structure in which the island's bull was kept during winter. Tobar Childa itself is supplied by two springs that lie just outside the Head Wall that was constructed around the Village to prevent sheep and cattle gaining access to the cultivated areas within its boundary.  There were 25 to 30 houses altogether. Most were black houses of typical Hebridean design, but some older buildings were made of corbelled stone and turfed rather than thatched. The black house ( Scottish Gaelic: taigh dubh (formerly "tigh" is a traditional type of house which used to be common in Highland Scotland, The turf was used to prevent ingress of wind and rain, and the older 'beehive' buildings resembled green hillocks rather than dwellings. 
The Head Wall was built in 1834 when the medieval village was abandoned and a new one planned between Tobar Childa and the sea some 200 metres (700 ft) down the slope. This came about as the result of a visit by Sir Thomas Dyke Ackland, the MP for Devon. A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters to a Parliament. Devon is a large county in the South West of England. The county is also referred to as Devonshire, but that is an entirely unofficial name Appalled by the primitive conditions, he made a donation that led to the construction of a completely new settlement of 30 new black houses. These were further modified after several of the new dwellings were damaged by a severe gale in October 1860. Sixteen modern houses were then constructed amidst the blackhouses and a new Factor's house as well. In Scotland a Factor (or Property manager) is a person or firm charged with superintending or managing properties and estates -- sometimes where the owner or landlord
These houses were made of dry stone, had thick walls and were roofed with turf. Each typically had only one tiny window and a small aperture for letting out smoke from the peat fire that burnt in the middle of the room. As a result, the interiors were blackened by soot. The cattle occupied one end of the house in winter, and once a year the straw from the floor was stripped out and spread on the ground. 
One of the more poignant ruins on Hirta is the site of 'Lady Grange's House'. Lady Grange had been married to the Jacobite sympathiser James Erskine of Grange for 25 years when he decided that she might have overheard too many of his treasonable plottings. Jacobitism was (and to a limited extent remains the political movement dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland James Erskine Lord Grange (1679 &ndash January 20, 1754) was Lord Justice Clerk and Lord of Justiciary. He had her kidnapped and secretly confined in Edinburgh for six months. Edinburgh ( ˈɛdɪnb(ərə Dùn Èideann) is the Capital of Scotland and is its second largest city after Glasgow. From there she was sent to the Monach Isles, where she lived in isolation for two years whilst he maintained that she had died and arranged her funeral. Not to be confused with Heysker/ Hyskeir (Small Isles or Haskeir The Monach Islands, also known as Heisker ( Scottish Gaelic: She was then taken to Hirta from 1734 to 1742, which she described as a "a vile neasty, stinking poor isle". After a failed rescue attempt, she was removed by Erskine to the Isle of Skye, where she died. Skye or the Isle of Skye ( Scottish Gaelic An t-Eilean Sgitheanach əɲ tʰʲelan s̪kʲiə The 'house' is a large cleit in the Village meadows. 
Boswell and Johnson discussed the subject during their 1773 tour of the Hebrides. James Boswell 9th Laird of Auchinleck ( October 29, 1740 - May 19, 1795) was a lawyer diarist and Author born in Edinburgh Samuel Johnson (often referred to as Dr Johnson) (18 September Boswell wrote: "After dinner to-day, we talked of the extraordinary fact of Lady Grange’s being sent to St Kilda, and confined there for several years, without any means of relief. Dr Johnson said, if M’Leod would let it be known that he had such a place for naughty ladies, he might make it a very profitable island. "
In the 1860s unsuccessful attempts were made to improve the landing area by blasting rocks. A small jetty was erected in 1877, but it was washed away in a storm two years later. In 1883 representations to the Napier Commission suggested the building of a replacement, but it was 1901 before the Congested Districts Board provided an engineer to enable one to be completed the following year. The Napier Commission, officially the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Condition of Crofters and Cottars in the Highlands and Islands (colloquially known as 'The Crofters' The Congested Districts Board (Scotland was set up by the Congested Districts (Scotland Act 1897 for the purpose of administering the sums made available by the government for the improvement Nearby on the shore line are some huge boulders which were known throughout the Highlands and Islands in the 19th century as Doirneagan Hirt, Hirta's pebbles. The Highlands and Islands of Scotland are broadly the Scottish Highlands plus Orkney, Shetland and the Hebrides. 
At one time, three churches stood on Hirta. Christ Church, in the site of the graveyard at the centre of the Village, was in use in 1697 and was the largest, but this thatched-roof structure was too small to hold the entire population, and most of the congregation had to gather in the churchyard during services. St Brendan's Church lay over a kilometre away on the slopes of Ruival, and St Columba's at the west end of the Village street, but little is left of these buildings. A new kirk and manse were erected at the east end of the village in 1830 and a Factor's house in 1860. Kirk can mean " church " in general or the Church of Scotland in particular Depending on denomination, local custom and the status of the minister the Building inhabited (or formerly inhabited by the leader of a local Christian church can In Scotland a Factor (or Property manager) is a person or firm charged with superintending or managing properties and estates -- sometimes where the owner or landlord 
Dùn means 'fort', and there is but a single ruined wall of a structure said to have been built in the far-distant past by the Fir Bolg. Dùn (or "Dun" without the diacritic is one of the St Kilda archipelago Stac Levenish or Stac Leibhinis (sometimes simply called "Levenish/Leibhinis" is a Sea stack in St Kilda Scotland. Dùn (or "Dun" without the diacritic is one of the St Kilda archipelago In Irish mythology the Fir Bolg (Fir Bholg Firbolg were one of the races that inhabited the island of Ireland prior to the arrival of the Tuatha Dé Danann.  The only 'habitation' is Sean Taigh (old house), a natural cavern sometimes used as a shelter by the St Kildans when they were tending the sheep or catching birds.
Soay has a primitive hut known as Taigh Dugan (Dugan's house). This is little more than an excavated hole under a huge stone with two rude walls on the sides. The story of its creation relates to two sheep-stealing brothers from Lewis who came to St Kilda only to cause further trouble. Lewis ( Leòdhas ʎɔːɣəs̪ ( Norse: Ljoðhús "home Dugan was exiled to Soay, where he died; the other, called Fearchar Mòr, was sent to Stac an Armin, where he found life so intolerable he cast himself into the sea.
Boreray boasts the Cleitean MacPhàidein, a 'cleit village' of three small bothies used on a regular basis during fowling expeditions. Here too are the ruins of Taigh Stallar (the steward's house), which was similar to the Amazon's house in Gleann Mòr although somewhat larger, and which had six bed spaces. The local tradition was that it was built by the 'Man of the Rocks', who led a rebellion against the landlord's steward.  It may be an example of an Iron Age wheelhouse. This article is about the archaeological period known as the Iron Age for the mythological Iron Age see Ages of Man. In Archaeology, an Atlantic roundhouse is an Iron Age stone building found in the northern and western parts of mainland Scotland, the Northern Isles 
No fewer than 78 storage cleitean exist on Stac an Armin and a small bothy. Stac an Armin ( or Stac an Àrmainn (the proper Scottish Gaelic spelling formerly àrmuinn) meaning "stack of the soldier/warrior" A bothy is a basic shelter usually left unlocked and available for anyone to use without charge As a result of a smallpox outbreak on Hirta in 1727, three men and eight boys were marooned there until the following May. Incredibly, a small bothy exists on the precipitous Stac Lee too, also used by fowlers. Stac Lee ( Scottish Gaelic: Stac Liath, the grey stack 172 metres NA142049 is an Island in St Kilda, Scotland that appears to be
In 1937, after reading of the St Kilda evacuation, Michael Powell made the film The Edge of the World about the dangers of island depopulation. Stac an Armin ( or Stac an Àrmainn (the proper Scottish Gaelic spelling formerly àrmuinn) meaning "stack of the soldier/warrior" Michael Latham Powell ( 30 September 1905 &ndash 19 February 1990) was a British Film director, renowned for his partnership The Edge of the World ( 1937) is the first major project by British filmmaker Michael Powell. It was shot, however, not on St Kilda but on Foula, one of the Shetland Islands. See Fula for the African people and language family Foula ( Fugløy "fowl island" is one of Great Britain ’s most Shetland (formerly spelled Zetland, from etland; Old Norse non Hjaltland; Sealtainn is an Archipelago off the northeast coast of  The writer Dorothy Dunnett wrote a short story, "The Proving Climb", set on St Kilda; it was published in 1973 in the anthology Scottish Short Stories. Dorothy Dunnett OBE ( August 25, 1923 &ndash November 9, 2001) was a Scottish historical novelist 
In 1982, the noted Scottish filmmaker and theatre director Bill Bryden made the Channel 4-funded film Ill Fares The Land about the last years of St Kilda. William Campbell Rough Bryden CBE (born 12 April 1942, Greenock, Scotland) is a British stage- and film director and Channel 4 is a public-service Television and Radio broadcaster in the United Kingdom centred around a television channel of the same name which began It is not currently on commercial release. 
The fictional island of Laerg, which features in the 1962 novel Atlantic Fury by Hammond Innes, is closely based on Hirta. Ralph Hammond Innes ( July 15, 1913 &ndash June 10, 1998) was an English author who wrote over 30 novels as well as children's
The Scottish folk rock band Runrig recorded a song, At the Edge of the World, which dwells on the islanders' isolated existence and how "the man from St Kilda went over the cliff on a winters day". Folk rock is a musical genre combining elements of Folk music and rock music. Runrig is a six-piece Folk rock band from Scotland. The group was founded in 1973 and as of 2008 Runrig has released 13 Studio albums.  In a 2005 poll of Radio Times readers, St Kilda was named as the ninth greatest natural wonder in the British Isles. An opinion poll is a survey of Public opinion from a particular sample. For the US radio series see WHYY-FM. Radio Times is the BBC 's weekly Television and Radio programme  In 2007 an opera in Scots Gaelic called St Kilda: A European Opera about the story of the islands received funding from the Scottish Government. Opera is an art form in which Singers and Musicians perform a Dramatic work (called an opera which combines a text (called a Libretto Scottish Gaelic ( Gàidhlig) is a member of the Goidelic branch of Celtic languages. The Scottish Government (SG ( Scottish Gaelic: Riaghaltas na h-Alba) is the executive arm of the government of Scotland. It was performed simultaneously at six venues in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and Scotland over the summer solstice of 2007. As part of the lasting legacy, this production left a long-term time lapse camera on Hirta.