We are ending the first week of our cruise (Route of the Vikings) with a stop at Saint Kilda.
Saint Kilda was a Viking stronghold on a small island off the coast of western Scotland. Why they chose this small North Atlantic rock, I have no idea. But in the year of 1202 they made their first presence. By the 1600s they were all but gone. Now it is a haven for many species of birds, sheep, goats, and tourists. Fortunately, the Scottish limit these intruders to only a few per day – tourists, not animals. Luckily, our cruise line was able to negotiate passage for some of us. Kathryn and I jumped at the chance to visit a place that few are able to go.
The archeology is fascinating with prehistoric structures dating to 1850 BC, a medieval village, and some buildings from the 1800s. The island even played a part during the first world war when a German U-boat bombed the lone signal station on the island. Forty years later, St. Kilda became militarily active again when the British government erected a missile tracking station on the top of the mountain. It looks wholly out of place.
We took a zodiac (rubber raft) from our ship to the island. Once on shore, we were informed we only had two hours before we had to return. We decided to hike to the top of the lower of two peaks amid sheep, goats and Viking remains. We’ll save the higher peak for a future visit. The island is known to have abundant wildlife, mostly birds. For some reason, most of the birds remained unspotted by us. Regardless, we had a great time trekking through the old buildings and rock structures.
It’s all about the light.