See all stories
1 May 2018

The St Kilda Diaries: 1 to 10 May 1909

Black and white photo of puffins on St Kilda
A circus of puffins on St Kilda, photographed by R Milne in 1907
Alice was married to Peter MacLachlan who was the Minister on the archipelago of St Kilda - the remotest part of the British Isles, 41 miles west of Benbecula in Scotland's Outer Hebrides - between August 1906 and May 1909.

This week read about Alice’s time on St Kilda during the first two week of May in 1909. 

These will be the last extracts from the diaries – Alice left St Kilda in May 1909 and moved to Glenelg near Kyle, opposite the Isle of Skye. 

All photographs in this article were taken from the Milne Album; R Milne visited St Kilda in 1907.

Satur. May 1st

Very cold day and not like first day of Summer!  Both, All of us well.  Baby very good.  Finlay Gillies’ people sent milk tonight.  Baby gets bottle always at nights.

Sunday May 2nd

Better day.  Baby & I in sitting room most of day & very well.  Hear that Donald òg was very ill last night, also Beau Angus.  Lots of callers.  Baby looks sweet in her clean clothes, & wee “ceanu ruadh”!

Monday May 3rd

Rough stormy day.  No School.  Question day in Church.  Finlay Gillies gave out the question.  Long meeting.  Lots in to see self & baby.

Tues. May 4th

Fine day altho’ very blowy.  John Mcdonald & Neil Gillies came to put manure into the “buall” & Dunie & Kate have started to put in the potatoes.  Put in 5 drills.  The boys put in manur into about ¾ of it.

Wednes. May 5th

Another good day.  Kate put the beasts (all but Cruvack) to the glen for the summer.  Good riddance as the “fiar” is almost done.

A black and white photo of children on St Kilda in 1907
A group of St Kilda children, photographed by R Milne in 1907

Thurs. May 6th  

No news.  Baby & I both well.  No boats.

Frid. May 7th

Kate, Catrione & Annie Gillies washing blankets & doing big washing.  Perfect weather. 

Satur. May 8th

Men went to Borreray and to Stac Lii for Gannets’ eggs.  Got a great many.  Men were speaking to trawler at Borreray.  Baby out first time today, Saturday, and so good.  Beautiful day.

Sund. May 9th

Lovely day.  Lots of visitors to see baby.  Colder.  No boats.  Two boats passed.  Going different ways, one of them whistled twice.  Baby not out.  Very good.  She sleeps well.

Mond. May 10th

Hear the drifters start work at the herrings today.  Beautiful day but very hot.  Kate started the cleaning & did store room.  Forgot to say the Finlay Gillies did our cloths on Saturday last & we got them all beautifully dried.  Baby out a good while today.  The men down all day putting up cran & getting ready for “Dunara”.  Scraping & tarring their boats etc.  Baby a wee cross in the evening & inclined to throw up her food.