The view from the highest point on Hirta, Conachair, is a 360 degree panorama of the islands, sea stacks and vistas that make up St Kilda - it also emphasises just how tiny and isolated you are. Aside from a smudge of islands from the Outer Hebrides viewed on an incredibly clear day, the Atlantic Ocean is your horizon in every direction. Camping and hiking on the island by myself, aside from the Ministry of Defence and the National Trust for Scotland employees who work on Hirta, was an absolute privilege and one I wanted to take full advantage of. Before each morning, I had to let the seasonal NTS staff my whereabouts and plans for the day - with incredibly windy conditions and no service, people have gone missing over the cliffs before, so safety and communication during the day is vital.
One of the main aims during the stay was to hike up Conachair, a 430m hill that from the summit looks down over ‘Main Street’ and the array of buildings and roads that dot Hirta. Sheep pens, the cleits that the locals used for storage, the MOD satellites and accommodation buildings, the beach and the helipad - some of the sights that are dots from this vantage point. A lone boat stays adrift in the bay - dinghies are used to access and leave the island to stop any possibility of rats infesting the sea bird population. It may seem calm and peaceful, but the wind was near its strongest, with no trees or shelter to prevent the buffeting. I felt very small and hugely excited to have the chance to see this view for the first time.
I’m Alistair, a Scottish freelance photographer specialising in the outdoors and the natural world. I have worked on award winning social media campaigns with a variety of clients, including Visit Norway, Airbnb, Adobe and Visit Scotland. Having been brought up with the mountains and coastlines in my backyard, they have considerably shaped and influenced my work and photography style, leading to where I am today.
St Kilda, Scotland
Island of Hirta from highest point, Conachair
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