UK Genealogy Archives logo

St Kilda, Inverness-shire

Historical Description

KILDA, ST., an isle, in the county of Inverness. This island, also called Hirta, is the most remote of the Western Isles: the nearest land to it is Harris, from which it is distant sixty miles in a west-south-west direction; and it is 140 miles from the nearest point of the main land of Scotland. In length it is about three miles, from east to west, and in breadth two miles, from north to south. The whole island is fenced by one continued perpendicular face of rock, of prodigious height, with the exception of a part of the bay, or landing-place, lying towards the south-east, and even there the rocks are of considerable height. The bay is inconvenient; and the tides and waves are so impetuous that, unless in calm weather, it is extremely hazardous to approach. The surface of the island rises into four high mountains, covered with a blackish loam, except at their summits, where is moss about three feet in depth; but the soil is rendered fertile by the industry of the inhabitants, who manure their fields so as to convert them into a sort of gardens. There are several springs that form a burn running close by the village, which is situated about a quarter of a mile from the bay. The ordinary means of intercourse with the island is, by the packet from Dunvegan, in Skye, to Rodel, in Harris, and thence to the isle of Pabbay, at the extremity of the sound of Harris, whence a number of fishermen make the voyage in large open boats. It is accessible, also, by steamers in summer, and is visited occasionally by revenue cruisers.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 1851 by Samuel Lewis