St Kilda

St Kilda is an archipelago of 4 small cliff-bound islands named Hirta, Soay, Dun, and Boreray. It was privately owned for many generations by the MacLeod family. There wasn’t much wildlife on the island besides the seabirds on top of the cliffs. The men of the town would have to climb the cliffs and catch the birds with their bare hands. These men were called fowlers. Over a short period of time, the fowlers feet began to adapt to their way of survival. Their ankles grew to be twice the size as normal ankles and their toes were set wide apart to help them climb. The people survived off of the meat and eggs provided by the birds. On average, each resident on the island ate 80 bird eggs in just one week. There was also puffin birds which were eaten much like a bag of chips; they were a snack. The introduction of rats and mice to the island however did threaten the populations of birds.

Soay sheep

There also were Soay Sheep which were not used for there meat. their only purpose was to provide wool. It is believed that the sheep were brought to the island by Neolithic farmers or Norsemen some time during the bronze age around 3000 BC.  The population of the island was so small, no crime existed. There was no set leader and in the beginning of the day, the people would come together and decide what they would do that day. They natives were also very religious.

Visitors came to the island and showed the natives that there was a better life on the mainland. The native had never heard of things like fruit or rabbits because they didn’t exist on the island.


That caused them to leave and eventually there wasn’t enough people to survive. The island was completely evacuated in 1930. Without the people on the island, the house mouse died out but the field mouse doubled in size.

Today, the island is a nature reserve and a world heritage site. It is owned by the natural trust for Scotland. Mostly naturalist and historians visit the island to study the birds that live there. Travelers will go to the island because it is the best place for diving. The clear water and submerged tunnels caves and arches make it a very unique place.

st kilda

Fun facts:

42 natives emigrated to Australia and named the now suburban city also named St Kilda and there is also a town of St Kilda in New Zealand.

St Kilda mailboat- a wooden container holding a note sealed in a cocoa tin attached o a inflated sheeps bladder so it would float mounted by a small red flag- method of communiation with the mainland.

st kilda mailboat

In order to get married you had to go to the top of “lovers stone” and stand on your left foot. then put your right foot out in front, bed down and make a fist on top of your foot. This proved you were able to catch the seabirds and provie for your family. If you could not complete the task, you were not able to marry.

~Rachel and Emily

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