The extraordinary story of the UK’s most gruelling and spectacularly beautiful islands.
Situated at the westernmost point of the United Kingdom, the spectacularly beautiful but utterly bleak island of St Kilda is familiar to virtually nobody. A lonely archipelago off the coast of Scotland, it is hard to believe that for over two thousand years, men and women lived here, cut off from the rest of the world.
With a population never exceeding two hundred in its history, the St Kildans were fiercely self-sufficient. An intensely religious people, they climbed cliffs from childhood and caught birds for food. Their sense of community was unparalleled and isolation enveloped their day-to-day existence.
With the onset of the First World War, things changed. For the very first time in St Kilda’s history, daily communication was established between the islanders and the mainland. Slowly but surely, this marked the beginning of the end of St Kilda and in August 1930, the island’s remaining 36 inhabitants were evacuated.
In this fascinating book, Tom Steel tells the moving story of this vanished community and how twentieth century civilization ultimately brought an entire way of life to its knees.