I have wanted to visit St Kilda for a long time. Our Sea Harris trip didn't disappoint. The crew... read more
I have wanted to visit St Kilda for a long time. Our Sea Harris trip didn't disappoint. The crew... read more
For me this was a very special trip and somewhere I had always wanted to visit as my father was... read more
Very difficult to explain the feelings in a few words: fantastic, breathtaking, well organized, safe yet adventurous...
Sea Harris took me for one of the most incredible trips of my life. A 2,5 hour sail towards St Kilda, 5 hours on Hirta, the main island, another half hour sailing among the stacks and cliffs of the archipelago and then another 2,5 hours return journey will stay in my memory for ever.
I booked the trip half a year in advance, chose the company on the internet (their website is informative and friendly), had a few questions that were promptly answered, I had full confidence in them. A day before "the date" I received a text message and an email confirming the weather forecast is ok and we would go on the trip.
When we arrived in the bay of Hirta, we were welcomed by one of the local wardens and we were explained where we can go and what is worth doing. I decided to walk up the cliff saddle for the views of Boreray and the stacks, then up the highest point (Conachair, 430 meters above the sea level) and then towards the south-east end of Hirta and back. The walk was a bit more demanding than I had expected and it took me about four hours. Needless to say I stopped many times to look around and to take some photographs. There are no paths or trails on the island except one real road from the bay to a military radar site, which you can take, but I chose to stay away the civilization, and it was a good choice.
There are thousands of birds nesting on the archipelago, unfortunately in late August most of them are gone. I saw some seagulls and many gannets. If you are into bird watching, earlier season is recommended.
On the return journey we went very near the cliffs, saw hundreds of gannets, and the best of all, we got really close to some of the majestic cliffs and stacks. Slowly moving around them was a very exciting experience.
Going home was easier as the sea became friendlier than it was in the morning, most of us kept watching the islands vanishing in the distance, trying to lock the memories in our minds.
A trip to St. Kilda was definitely one of the best trips in my life. I must reccommend using Sea Harris company - my experience is they are reliable, friendly, safe. The boat we had was very comfortable and seemed to be the fastest of the three that went on that day :) Many thanks belong to the boys who took us there - Darren and Iain, they looked after us and were a good company.
Operator Sea Harris, owned by Seumas Macleod, sailing from Leverburgh in Harris, provided a great recent birthday present for myself and my brother in law on Saturday 25 August 2018.
The fast, comfortable sea boat, skippered on the day by Darren and crewed by Iain Angus, provided the best possible trip to and from the World Heritage site of St Kilda, a truely ‘must visit’ destination.
The sea trip was made even more enjoyable as the skipper slowed the boat down to enable the twelve passengers to watch a passing whale.
Although reading up through reading various books on St Kilda provided good information pre visit, we found that our many questions to National Trust Archaeologist Craig were expertly and patiently answered.
A trip highlight was on leaving the island, when Sea Harris provided additional trips round the surrounding islands and Stacs to view the tremendous cliffs with their thousands of nesting sea birds.
Iain Angus gave us expert and detailed information as we sailed slowly round Boreray and the Stacs.
Images in books, and videos are not a patch on the real life experience provided by Sea Harris and Kilda Cruises operators who accompanied us on the trip.
Great value for money....even tea, coffee and cake thrown in on the boat as we left St Kilda.
We went over to the Shiant Isles on a 4.5-5 hour round trip. It took us approx 1.5 hours to get over there from Tarbet. The boat doesn't have a toilet so make sure you go before you get on! Plenty to see; puffin colonies, seals, a variety of other seabirds and even porpoises on the way back! If going ashore (we did for 1.5hrs) make sure you have suitable footwear, its extremely wet underfoot with boggy areas all over the island. I'd recommend taking a picnic (as we did) as there is obviously nowhere to buy refreshments. A passing boat even kindly provided our supper in the form of fresh mackerel. The boat may not be suitable for those with limited mobility so I would check with staff before booking. Seamus our skipper, was very friendly and informative and provided good safety advice before we set off and for when we went ashore. None of our party could be considered bird watchers, but we all loved seeing the comical puffins and other seabirds. You may consider bringing along binoculars for an even better view. We were lucky, the rain stayed off for the majority of the day, so this made the trip even more enjoyable. Excellent trip for all but especially for bird lovers.
Thank you to Seaharris you for what can only be described as a fantastic day out to St Kilda, Scotland. We maybe didn’t get there on the Tuesday because of poor weather conditions but thanks to you we got there on the Thursday. The boat was lovely and well equipped for the journey both inside and outside. The care and attention from the two well mannered young lads onboard was especially appreciated. They took great care of everyone. Their attention to detail was spot on. They also shared their knowledge of the stacks on the way back. Taking their time so everyone could soak up the views and take photos. A lovely cup of tea and delicious gingerbread awaited us before our return journey. A fantastic day on St Kilda which was made more special by Seaharris. I hope to return soon and will certainly be going with Seaharris.
it has taken a while to get round to this review but this is no reflection on how good it was. We had talked about going to St Kilda the previous year but had made no decision to go this year until we realised that the weather conditions were so stable and now might be our best chance ever. Luckily there were standby spaces left and sure enough the text message to say we were on came through the day before. On the day it was cloudy and cool with relatively low winds.
it's a long way to go out into the open Atlantic so you do worry. However, as soon as you step onto the boat you feel safe. Darren and Iain Angus were immediately engaging and welcoming and put you at your ease. The boat itself is fairly small but sturdy, stable, powerful and comfortable. The cabin encloses you from the elements and you can still see clearly what is going on outside. You can also see everything the pilot was doing and the controls which show you the depth, distance and a countdown to how long it will take to get there. You can step outside onto the sheltered stern of the boat and watch the fulmars ride the waves and squadrons of gannets fly by occasionally attacked by 'stealth bomber' arctic skuas. No marine mammals on this occasion for us other than a quick 2 second surfacing of a single dolphin or porpoise. All of the time, Iain Angus was carefully checking in with each individual, finding out about us, making sure we were all OK and looking after anyone who was feeling sick. We were lucky to have Jamie with us, our personal bird expert and so we didn't miss out through our own ignorance when a sooty shearwater or two appeared alongside the boat and we can now distinguish it from the more common Manx shearwater as well as the differences between razorbills and guillemots, great/arctic skuas, fulmars/kittiwakes/common gulls etc.
On arrival on the island, the cloud was low, obscuring the tops but it created a real wild atmosphere. This was spoiled significantly by the ugly and noisy MOD construction works going on in the bay. It beggars belief that if they have to be there the buildings are so crudely and carelessly designed in what is a UNESCO world heritage site. Perhaps the new buildings will fit in better but it still seems so incongruous and we were glad to walk to areas where they were not in sight. Because of the low cloud the National Trust workers advised us not to walk beyond the village due to the danger of climbing the hill and ending up over the steep cliffs at the top! This seemed a waste of the 4-5 hours available before the return trip. However, the cloud did lift and were able to get up there to the stunning views of the birds wheeling around and the islands beyond. On the way the arctic skua attacks were entertaining. Your instinct is to duck but there is little point as the birds are so amazingly agile that they can make as much or as little contact as they choose. Mostly they chose no contact but their feet did occasionally brush past your hat. For some people this is sufficient deterrent to keep them away and so this is pretty impressive work on the part of these wonderful birds to protect their chicks. We were also lucky enough to see the unique St Kilda wren on arrival and one passenger saw it with its chicks AND we spotted the rare visiting snowy owl scouting the scree for stray chicks to snack on. This caused some agitation amongst the skuas and fulmars and even a short-eared owl but she mostly just sat on a rock well camouflaged against the scree by her flecked feathers.
The cultural history of the island is fascinating, no moreso than in the thousands of 'cleits' (turf-roofed, stone storage huts) covering the slopes and in the guga hunting stories that came to life on the return trip (the best bit!) around the adjacent islands and stacks of Soay, Dun, Boreray and Stac an Armin. This was breathtaking as Darren's amazing skill in manoeuvering the boat up close and personal to the cliffs, together with Iain Angus' story-telling, really brought home the astounding feats of the islanders in somehow scaling the cliffs to source eggs and birds for survival. The air filled with puffins like ants flying in all directions, the aquamarine shades in the water, the sight and stench of the nesting gannets, the menace of the cruising bonxies looking for an opportunity to casually smack the catch out of a puffin or gannets mouth - just fantastic. As for the (now wild) Boreray sheep that we saw perched on the steepest of tiny green patches... astounding!
So, all in all, what seems to be quite an expensive outlay (£190 each) was well worth it. Some describe it as the trip of a lifetime but we all said we would be keen to go again and we would definitely go with Sea Harris. Many thanks to Darren, Iain Angus and Seamus.
We had great weather— sunny day, calm sea.
We saw two types of whales- minke and finback. Many porpoises and seals.
Endless seabirds- puffins, razorbills, murres. Also skuas and eagles. Overall a fabulous trip.