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Bill Fernie - The St
Interest in the group of islands 50 miles or so west of the Outer Hebrides has remained over the years and more recently two different people have visited Caithness giving talks and lectures. One Donald S Murray teacher and poet offered the collection of photographs used in his lecture tour.
Bill walked most of the places shown in the photographs on the main island of Hirta and also managed to get over to the island of Dun opposite Village Bay. Bill was ferried over by a small army rubber dingy and left for several hours to take a closer look at the island and the vast numbers of birds especially puffins where a huge colony lives.
Not shown in the pictures was the walk Bill took one evening to the top of Conachair to peer over the longest sheer drop to the sea in Europe. A amazing spectacle as the sun began to go down especially standing there on your own. Then startled by Soay sheep running seemingly from the cliffs. Yes they definitely are more like goats than sheep.
On his walks around St Kilda Bill was variously attacked by Black Backed Gulls, skuas and others determined to guard their nests and territory despite his trying to skirt around certain nesting areas - an almost impossible task as the islands have some of the largest colonies of seabirds in Europe particularly in June/July August when he was there.
Bill's own pictures are not of particularly good quality being taken on a cheap camera hastily purchased at the time and the pictures developed mainly on St Kilda by a local army man based there that summer.
A short film made for the Scottish
Executive and narrated by Michael Russell MSP Minister for the Environment
added to the web on 15 August 2007
St Kilda 1995 Expedition