LD 159 90 years on
This is Village Bay on St Kilda, looking from what is known as "The Gap" and I am posting it because today is the 90th anniversary of the evacuation, about which there is a good feature on the BBC Website .
I am clearly not there today, so have to admit that this was taken on the 26th of June 2007 - more than 13 years ago and over two years before I started to blip. It would be my oldest back blip if in sequence.
I am lucky enough to have been to St Kilda twice. In 1991 I went with the army on a big landing craft as part of the filming of a documentary I was making for STV about the Rocket Range in South Uist, for which the island provides a tracking station.
In June 2007 I arrived on board the Fisheries Protection Vessel Jura as the very newly appointed Environment Minister in the Scottish Government and the purpose of that trip was to mark the double World Heritage designation of the island for both its natural and historic environment.
It was a fascinating trip that started with me being flown in the fisheries protection plane from Edinburgh to Stornoway, coming out of the clouds over Iona and the Sound of Mull. Then I joined the "Jura" in Stornoway harbour and we travelled overnight via Barra Head to St Kilda. We were meant to return by way of the Flannan Isles but the weather didn't make that possible, alas.
I also recall when I lived in Benbecula meeting some of those who had been evacuated as children when they were en route to see their childhood home again.
The story remains a sad and gripping one , though those who left always regarded the evacuation as inevitable no matter how much they missed the remarkable place which - when you stand on the shore, of on the hillside - always seems both very small and, given the sky and ocean all around , very big indeed.
I have included two extra photos - one of the Jura in Viullage Bay and one of the houses, which were at that time still in the process of being restored. You can also see more on my flickr site.