A Flight To St. Kilda - by Rev. R.L. Lawson - Page 10
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The images and text of Rev. Lawson's booklet - A FLIGHT TO ST. KILDA - contributed by Ewen McGee whose grandfather was captain of the SS Hebrides from 1899 to 1921.

Pages: Cover | Publications | 3 |  4 |  5 | 6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11 |  12  | 13  | 14  | 15 | 16  |  17 | 18 | 19  | 20 | 21  | 22  | 23 |  SS Hebrides | Photos

                             A FLIGHT TO ST. KILDA                            10

inhabited one, and the others are very bare and cliffy indeed.  St. Kilda is seven miles in circumference, and over 1000 feet in height; while the pasturage on it and the other islands maintains 600 sheep of a small breed, with a few Highland cattle.  None of these sheep are exported, but are all, as publicans say, “consumed on the premises,” so the people must feed fairly well.  The wool of the sheep is not clipped with shears as with us, but plucked off with the fingers, as is the custom still in Shetland.  This custom, it is said, is good for the wool, but cannot be pleasant, one would say, for the sheep. 

The island is always called by the natives Hirt (pronounced Hirst), but we call it St. Kilda, after its first Christian missionary, who was, it is supposed, a scholar of Columba of Iona.  There are at present 70 inhabitants on it, old and young.  These find shelter, if not comfort, in eighteen one-storey houses, roofed with zinc, coated with pitch. (See Illustration.)  There is no level land save a little in front of the houses, which is used for growing potatoes with a little oats and barley.  I saw no kitchen vegetables such as we are accustomed to here, and I did not observe a single garden flower.

When we were being landed in the boat, I was surprised to hear what I might call a joke from one of the hands, to break the prevailing solemnity.  The lad who was steering us was seated beside me, and as I had, through the kindness of some Hydro friends, been entrusted with some packages of sweets to give away, and he looked pleasant and affable, I thought I would begin with him; so putting on my most benignant smile, I accosted him with the remark — “You will have a sweetheart, I suppose?”  His reply was delightful, “OF COURSE.”  “Then, will you give her this packet of sweets with my compliments?”  I had no difficulty in getting rid of my sweets, although I confined my attentions exclusively to the fair sex, as I had been enjoined to do.  I believe I was enjoined, also, to give them to the best looking ones; but this I confess I did not do, as I don't see why plain looking people should be snubbed in this way.  I am pleased to inform you, however, that the girls of St. Kilda are in general very good-looking.  They have

Pages: Cover | Publications | 3 |  4 |  5 | 6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11 |  12  | 13  | 14  | 15 | 16  |  17 | 18 | 19  | 20 | 21  | 22  | 23 |  SS Hebrides | Photos