A Flight To St. Kilda - by Rev. R.L. Lawson - Page 22
Home ] Up ] Photo Galleries ] Town Guides ] Notables ] Community ] News ] Places ] History ] Search ] Contact Us ]

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                    22

Grange, about 180 years ago, was afflicted with a wife notoriously given over to whisky-drinking.  He tried every plan he could think of to wean her from the habit, but in vain.  At last, driven to desperation, and there being no homes for inebriates in those days, the Judge engaged some men to kidnap her and carry her off in a small sailing vessel, along with a waiting woman, to St. Kilda; and there, in a hired lodging, she remained for a number of years, shut out from the world, till Lord Grange's death, when she was released and brought back to civilization again.  One hardly knows in this case whether to pity most the afflicted husband or the misguided wife! 

The sea-birds most plentiful on St. Kilda are the Fulmar, the Solan Goose, the Puffin, the Guillemot, and the Razorbill.  Of these, the one most specially identified with the island is the Fulmar, a bird about the size of a Gull, which emits, when caught, a strong-smelling oil, and has on that account been called the “Skunk of birds.”  A small black bird, called the Stormy Petrel, breeds here too, and its eggs are gathered and sold as a curiosity.  It is the smallest web-footed bird known, and gets its name of Petrel, or Peter's bird, because in skimming over the sea it seems as if walking on the surface of the water. 

When people ask me, “Is St. Kilda worth seeing?” I can only answer with Thomas Carlyle — “It is worth seeing, but it is not worth going to sea.”  It is a bare rocky island, or rather group of islands, fifty miles beyond the Outer Hebrides, with a poor row of one-storey cottages a little bit off the beach.  The thing best worth seeing are the cliffs where the sea-birds build; and if the captain had sailed close to these, it would have made our trip more enjoyable; for it was not a little tantalizing to go so far and see so little.  Ailsa Craig, to my mind, is a much grander sight than St. Kilda, although less is said about it.  

I think this is all I can say of any interest about this lonely island of the sea, which forms the most advanced outpost of the British Isles.  It is in itself a poor twopence-halfpenny concern at the best, and hardly worth the fuss that is made about it.  It has a pretty-sounding name, but that is the best of it.  The steamer's hands don't like

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