St Kilda National Nature Reserve
LOCHMADDY, WESTERN ISLES
With its dramatic sheer cliffs and sea stacks, the St Kilda NNR feels like it is a mythical landscape lost in time. Fifty miles west of Benbecula, it is Britain’s most remote point – and home to Europe’s most important seabird breeding colony. The main island of Hirtais perhaps most famous for having finally been abandoned by its human population in 1930, bringing to an end 2,000 years of human occupation. The birdlife on the islands includes the world’s largest colony of northern gannets on the isolated seastacks of Boreray, Stac Lee and Stac an Armin; a quarter of Britain’s puffin population nesting on most of the islands; huge numbers of guillemots, razorbills and fulmars on most rocky ledges, and Manx shearwaters, storm and Leach’s petrels in inland burrows. St Kilda’s unique mammal is the St Kilda fieldmouse, common on Hirta and Dun, while the St Kilda wren is a larger sub-species of the mainland wren and has only been found on Hirta, Dun, Soay and Boreray.
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About The area
Discover Western Isles
The islands lying to the west of Scotland’s north coast fall into two groups – the Inner and Outer Hebrides.
The islands of the Inner Hebrides, each with its own character and community life, fall into distinct groups and are by far the most visited. Mull, second only to Skye in size, is characterised by mountains and moorland with pockets of more pastoral landscape, small towns, settlements and castles to visit. It provides access to holy Iona and the drama of Staffa and Fingal’s Cave. The low-lying islands of Coll, Tiree, Colonsay and Oronsay lie west of Mull, windswept and remote. To the south lie Islay and Jura, one producing some of Scotland’s finest whiskies, the other home to many more red deer than people.
Lying beyond Skye, the Outer Hebrides are a destination in their own right. They too fall into natural island groups. To the north lie Lewis and Harris, geographically one island, with Lewis, the most densely populated region of the Outer Hebrides, and Harris far more mountainous. From its southern tip, ferries cross to North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Eriskay, all linked by causeways. South again, tiny Barra marks the end of the inhabited islands.
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