Finding Trevor // A Quick Trip To St Kilda

For the past few months I've been working on a film, telling the story of some music of St Kilda and the man that kept it with him through his life.  It's been a fascinating project, and it's consumed me. I literally lie in bed waiting for sleep, thinking about how it all fits together. My head has been on St Kilda and Trevor for a long time. 

As it neared completion, I visited St Kilda to shoot some footage of the island. The plan being to show how it captured the imagination of (amongst so many others) this old man called Trevor. 

It was a bit of a nerve wracking job. The remotest point of the British Isles. If anything went wrong, it was going to go really wrong. It was a relatively last minute trip so lots of hasty planning and light packing. I didn't fancy trying to cart too much kit up those hills (they feel even steeper than they look). 

Anturally, I couldn't go without shooting some photos while the video was rolling. Here are a few...

Village Bay on Hirta, the only inhabited island of the St Kilda Archipelago. Dun, the island at centre top, was previously connected to Hirta by a rock archway which has been lost to the Atlantic.  Dun comes from the Gaelic for 'shield' as it protected the bay from th Atlantic winds.  

Village Bay on Hirta, the only inhabited island of the St Kilda Archipelago. Dun, the island at centre top, was previously connected to Hirta by a rock archway which has been lost to the Atlantic.  Dun comes from the Gaelic for 'shield' as it protected the bay from th Atlantic winds.  

Derek, who operates the 'Go To St Kilda' cruise company. Boats aren't allowed to dock at the harbour so we had to transfer to this dinghy to make our way ashore.  

Derek, who operates the 'Go To St Kilda' cruise company. Boats aren't allowed to dock at the harbour so we had to transfer to this dinghy to make our way ashore.  

St Kilda's indigenous sheep. There was a research team on the island when I was there working on gathering information on the species. 

St Kilda's indigenous sheep. There was a research team on the island when I was there working on gathering information on the species. 

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Looking from 'the gap' toward the next biggest island, Soay with Stac Lee and Stac Donna to the left of frame.  

Looking from 'the gap' toward the next biggest island, Soay with Stac Lee and Stac Donna to the left of frame.  

A Great Skua lands on a cleat. These birds are a little terrifying. About double the size of a seagull, the seem a lot bigger when they're swooping at your head.  They don't like people getting too close and their defence mechanism seems to be...attack.  I had a couple of close calls that ended with me face down on the hillside.  

A Great Skua lands on a cleat. These birds are a little terrifying. About double the size of a seagull, the seem a lot bigger when they're swooping at your head.  They don't like people getting too close and their defence mechanism seems to be...attack.  I had a couple of close calls that ended with me face down on the hillside.  

It's estimated that St Kilda was populated for around 3500 years before being evacuated in August 1930. That takes the original population back to the Bronze Age. I'm so curious as to how they got there, and survived for all of those years.  

It's estimated that St Kilda was populated for around 3500 years before being evacuated in August 1930. That takes the original population back to the Bronze Age. I'm so curious as to how they got there, and survived for all of those years.  

Cleats are rebuilt by Natiinal Trust staff who live on the island each Summer. They were originally used to store the seabirds caught by the islanders, their primary source of food.  

Cleats are rebuilt by Natiinal Trust staff who live on the island each Summer. They were originally used to store the seabirds caught by the islanders, their primary source of food.  

Soay, apparently 2 seasons later, actually 20 minutes later.  

Soay, apparently 2 seasons later, actually 20 minutes later.  

The north face of Soay, from the rocking deck of our boat, Integrity.  

The north face of Soay, from the rocking deck of our boat, Integrity.  

Stac An Armin in the foreground with Boreray behind. This is around 5 miles from Hirta, a distance covered by native St Kildans in rowing boat, across the open Atlantic. I thought our boat was rough! This isn't a spot the tour boat usually visits, but having seen this perspective before, I asked Derek if he could get us there for this shot. This is home to the largest Norther Gannet population in the world (1/7th of the total population, all hanging out hoping that we were a fishing boat) 

Stac An Armin in the foreground with Boreray behind. This is around 5 miles from Hirta, a distance covered by native St Kildans in rowing boat, across the open Atlantic. I thought our boat was rough! This isn't a spot the tour boat usually visits, but having seen this perspective before, I asked Derek if he could get us there for this shot. This is home to the largest Norther Gannet population in the world (1/7th of the total population, all hanging out hoping that we were a fishing boat) 

I was on Hirta for around 4 hours and then a little time seeing the other islands and Stacs from the boat. Bookend that with an 8 hour round trip from the west coast of Skye and it makes for a hell of a day. An absolute adventure, and given how attached I've become to this project, quite an emotional time. It was a pretty hectic time on the island trying to get all the footage that I wanted. Sitting on the boat as we left, having a chance to take in what had just happened, I really struggle to describe how affecting it was. Watching the footage the next morning was slightly surreal. 

What a trip, what a place. 

Keep your eye out for The Lost Songs of St Kilda!