Well, what can I say. I had been looking forward to this trip for a long time, anxiously watching the weather forecasts for last couple of weeks, keeping in touch with Simon, deciding what to take. A few days before the scheduled departure it became clear that Monday might not be a good day for the journey and landing on Hirta (the main island of the St. Kilda archipelago.) Instead of cancelling Derek, the owner of GotoStKilda, offered us the option of leaving a day earlier, but still returning on the original Tuesday! Fortunately all 8 other passengers were able to take this offer, so we left for St. Kilda on Sunday morning.
Before describing the rest of the trip I want to say something about the Derek, Nicola and GoToStKilda. They were absolutely splendid, everything organised well, extremely good at communicating with their customers before and after departure. The boat, which is an immensely important component of the trip, was very fast and comfortable (as far as possible on a trip out in the Atlantic.) The safety briefing was thorough, life vests were compact and looked new and we never felt unsafe or at risk at any point during the three days. It all made for a fantastic three day experience. If you are considering going to St. Kilda, either on the day trip or a multi-day camping trip, you really should check them out. Derek is very flexible and will organise the trip around your needs and wishes as far as possible. Their website is very good and informative: http://www.gotostkilda.co.uk/
We set off from Uig at 9:30 and the boat cleaved through the waves at about 20 knots (Derek, please let me know if I get any of these details wrong.) I am fortunate in not suffering from sea sickness at all, so I enjoyed the ride and the bumps inside the cabin on the very comfortable leather seats most of the time. Others preventing feeling ill by staying outside on the aft deck in the spray and occasional cold shower. We broke the journey by stopping at the Rodel Hotel at the south east corner of Harris. I was there a few weeks ago and did not think I would be back that soon. The coffee and bacon butties were excellent and the interior was in total contrast with the bare, austere exterior of the place.
After a couple more hours of crashing through the waves anticipation was rising. From the SatNav we knew that St. Kilda was not more than 2 miles away, but it was totally obscured by the mist. Then, suddenly it was there, as if by magic.
To be continued…