Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Three stones and a duck on Hirta.

From the head wall of Gleann Mor we made for the precipitous SW coast of Hirta. I wanted to see the Lover's Stone. A potential bridegroom reputedly had to balance on the edge of this 45 degree slab that rises above the drop below. Possibly it was just a story for the Victorian tourists, but it was a good one. Unfortunately my knee was by now hurting a bit and I did not fancy scrambling down for an inspection! However it was a great viewpoint to see the cliffs of Mullach Bi, 358m.

At the foot of Mullach Bi a long arch, Geo Creag an Arpaid effectively links the W and SW coasts of Hirta. We were able to paddle through this on our 2008 trip. We hoped to do the same on this trip!

Some people believe that St Kilda escaped glaciation. We found several places on the ridge between Mullach Bi and Claigeann Mor where rocks and stones showed striations that looked very typical of striations made by a glacier.

The tors of Claigeann Mor were rather rocky so while some of the others scrambled the ridge, I was happy to stick to the grassy slope behind.

From here we got a great view of the Ruabhal peninsula, the southern tip of Hirta, with Dun behind.

Rather than contour round the steep slopes, we rejoined the island's service road, on the branch that leads to Mullach Sgar. From this angle a grassy slope leads to the rocky tor on the summit of Ruabhal, 130m. We thought this would have a great view of Dun behind.

This is the site of yet another of Hirta's prenuptial stones; the Mistress Stone.

 I was quite happy to watch while the other's scrambled up to try their mettle...

 ...there was an easy way round the back!

With a knee like mine, there was no way I was going to balance on the edge!

Amazingly, Mistress Eider Duck, had chosen this very spot for her nest. Murdani, the captain of the Cuma, told us that she had been nesting here every year, for at least the last 8 years! I wonder how her ducklings make their way to the sea, off the Mistress Stone?