Season 2006

The Season of 2006

The end of September saw the end of yet another wonderful summer cruising around the islands of the Hebrides.  As usual the company was convivial, the food excellent and the wildlife – always offering something new.

But there were some changes from previous years:

Although St Kilda remains a fabulous place to visit, things there are changing. 

Boreray and the Stacs still maintain their air of being from a time aeons ago. When Boreray is shrouded in mist it seems like a world apart.

But Hirta is somewhat different being brought into the 21st century by the stark display of technology to be seen at the Radar tracking base and by the number of boats now visiting there.  Things have changed since the advent of GPS (Global Positioning system).  It does not require as much skill or knowledge of the sea to get to St Kilda in a small boat nowadays as it used to, and as a result visitor numbers are increasing rapidly. 

 Seagoing craft are being displaced by RIBs – plastic inflatable boats, which can zoom out to the island in two or three hours and deposit their load of battered and rather windswept passengers ashore for a short visit, and then leave at full speed swerving through the flocks of puffins and auks that were resting peacefully in the bay until sent scurrying for their lives.  We counted six of these “pleasure” craft one day all demonstrating the same care and consideration during their visit. Some show more consideration, but sadly not many.

What lies ahead for the Archipelago is hard to say. Whether the award of World Heritage status seems to have been a good thing -? More and more people flock there after seeing the islands on the TV or in newspaper articles – one of the places to visit before you die? 

Now the other secluded places are getting the same treatment – the Monachs seen on the BBC’s Autumn  Watch!  Now I suppose the Monachs will be another place on the must see list!  Soon there will be nowhere secluded and peaceful left.  Still at least the weather helps to keep some sense of proportion out amongst the islands.