By Bill Heaney

Dumbarton photographer Jim Crosthwaite, pictured bottom right,  has been spending his summer wisely in the Outer Hebrides.

The archipelago of St Kilda, the remotest part of the British Isles, lies 41 miles (66 kilometres) west of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides.

Its islands with their exceptional cliffs and sea stacs form the most important seabird breeding station in north-west Europe. The evacuation of its native population in 1930 brought to a close an extraordinary story of survival.

For an insight into what the islands were like before they were abandoned, you should read Atlantic Fury by Hammond Innes.

There is at least one copy in Dumbarton Library in Strathleven Place.

The book dramatises that story and also explains activities taking place today in this unique archipelago.

kILDA 14.jpg 15Today, three organisations, The National Trust for Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the MoD, work in partnership to further a continuing programme of conservation and research on the islands to ensure the care and protection of this World Heritage Site.

Landing craft from Helensburgh used to supply the military rocket tracking station out there.

World Heritage

St Kilda was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1986 in recognition of its Natural Heritage; for its exceptional natural beauty and for the significant natural habitats that it supports.

In July 2004, this was extended to include the surrounding marine environment.

In July 2005, further recognition for the islands cultural heritage was awarded making it one of only a few places in the world with Dual World Heritage Status for both its natural and cultural significance.

In order to achieve this additional World Heritage Status, the Scottish Executive presented a revised nomination to UNESCO in February 2003 seeking further inscription under the Natural Heritage and Cultural Landscapes categories in recognition of the outstanding heritage in the waters surrounding the islands and the unique example of Scottish history and culture that the islands represent.

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