(Gaelic, possibly meaning… Westlands)
On the far western edge of the Hebridean Whale Trail lies the magical archipelago of St Kilda. These islands are a place of pilgrimage for nature lovers; the towering sea cliffs are the tallest in the UK, and home to a multitude of birds. St Kilda is a place like no other, and the seas around these dramatic cliffs are bursting with life, from tiny jelly fish right through to massive whales.
On the largest Island, Hirta, you can walk amongst the houses that the last inhabitants abandoned in 1930, evacuated from these unsympathetic shores. The Islands are the UK’s only dual UNESCO world Heritage Site, and are now owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland.
A bit about the site
To visit this magical group of Islands you will need to join a boat trip, and your journey west is filled with the possibility of spotting wondrous creatures in the seas. A number of companies offer trips to St Kilda – from a day trip to a luxury cruise. An internet search will help you find what is appropriate for you.
Wondrous creatures in the waters
Look out for
Killer whales (Orca)
White beaked dolphins
A mighty migration
St Kilda is perched on the western edge of the Hebrides, close to where the sea drops off into the ocean deep. This deep water along the edge of the Hebrides shelf is known as the Rockall Trough, and is a migration highway for large whales like fin and blue whales. The deep waters are also where you find elusive species like beaked whales - the deepest diving mammals on the planet! Situated so close to this deep water you might spot some of these ocean wanderers here at St Kilda, so look out for massive fin or the blow of a surfacing whale.
A puffin a day…
St Kilda is Europe's most important seabird colony, home to over one million birds such as gannets, fulmars and the charismatic puffin. Seabirds formed a major part of the St Kildan diet, and at one time it was estimated that each person on St Kilda ate 115 fulmars every year! Puffins were more of a snack and in 1876 it was said that the islanders munched on 89,600 puffins!