First Days on St Kilda

We left Glasgow on Friday on a tiny plane bound for Stornoway, and arrived in Leverburgh on Harris that evening. Angus had hoped to take us out on the boat that same night, but the weather had turned again so we had to wait until the following morning.

Laying out the maps and starting to plan the scanning while we wait for the boat on Harris.

After a night in the eclectic Bunkhouse Hostel we boarded the boat at 7am on Saturday morning and powered over to Hirta. Somehow I managed to fall asleep for the first hour or two, but was rudely awoken when my head slammed off the boat window…turns out we had begun to swerve to avoid the breaking waves as we approached the islands!

Having arrived safely, if not slightly bruised from our journey, we unpacked the kit onto the pier and began to explore the remains of the village which would be our home for the next two weeks. We’re staying in the restored cottages on the main street, and kindly being fed by the dining hall on the M.O.D. base….and watered by the Puff Inn!

On our first full day we laid out the traverses for scanning the Street and I decided it would be a good idea to take a reckie of the cleits along Mullach Sgar along the ridgeway between Village Bay and Gleann Mor to identify a handful of important typologies to be scanned. Typically when I reached the top the mist rolled in…

Videos give you a much better sense of the place so I think I’ll start posting a few more over the coming weeks….hopefully as I get the hang of it they’ll be a little less Blair Witch and a bit more Bear Grylls!

Scanning in Village Bay

We spent the second day scanning in Village Bay, I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of using traverses (using back-sight and fore-sight targets), and being close enough to the cottages to have tea brought to the scanning station was a bonus.

Chris MacGregor – bringer of tea!

Today (Day 4 on St Kilda) James, Al and I hiked over to Gleann Mor on the opposite side of Hirta to suss out the structures, and begin scanning the Amazon’s House. Now, I say hiked, but in the morning we were kindly given a lift up to the ridge by one of the guys on the way to the radar station. Of course, being the lowly grad-student I drew short straw and ended up riding in the back with all the kit.

Crammed in the van ready for an exciting day of scanning and bonksies at Gleann Mor.

After actually hiking down into the valley and locating the Amazon’s House we set up a traverse and scanned around the exterior before taking a walk to find the cave where we’ll be doing some 3D sound recording later in the week. We didn’t find the cave in the end as the walk was quickly put to a stop by a particularly animated bonksie attack…I definitely did NOT let out a girly scream and dive to the floor – what happens in Gleann Mor stays in Gleann Mor, along with my dignity! We stashed some of the tripods away in a cleit and plan to return in a day or two to get some good scans of the interiors of the structures.

Tomorrow we’ll be scanning in Village Bay again so I’ll try and get some good videos of our work for the next blog, until then you can follow the project on twitter or read about the project on the website.

One comment

  1. heather Wright · · Reply

    Great clarity of island photographs. The grass looks stunningly green.
    Taking the opportunity of a lift with all that kit sounded pretty sound!


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