See all stories
15 Apr 2018

The St Kilda Diaries: 15 to 30 April 1909

A black and white photo of a St Kilda women knitting
A St Kilda women knitting; 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, 66 kilometres 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 last two weeks of April in 1909. 

New extracts from the diaries will be released every two weeks until the middle of May when Alice left St Kilda. All photographs in this article were taken from the Milne Album; R Milne visited St Kilda in 1907.

Thursday Ap. 15th

No boats.  Feeling miserable just now & bad night.

Friday Ap. 16th 

Out part of day but we thought it advisable to have Meirut (Sarah Gamp) down to sleep as I wasn’t well during day.  She came accordingly.  I turned ill about 11 o’clock but we did not call “Sairy” till about 3 a.m. when I was very ill.  Draw the veil over the next seven hours, when a bonny wee girl was born.

Waulking started Monday, April 26th, at Tigh Neil McDonald.

Saturday April 17th  

The loveliest wee baby girl was sent to us this morning at 10 o’clock.  Kate was just coming in with Beau Neil Ferguson when the wee girl was just coming into the world.  She has good lungs at any rate & such long hair very dark at present but it may all come out.  Sairy did well at the event.  The house was at once filled with all the women in the place greatly excited of course.  All had cake & wine - & tea!!!  I am as well as can be expected. 

Sund. Ap. 18th  

Lots of visitors.  Men & women.  Dunie stayed at night, & Donald Ferguson preached.

Monday Ap. 19th  

William very kindly came last night & put on the iodoform on the “imolac” & is to come till it drops.  The girls come two by two to take care of me every night while Sairy sleeps.  Mhairi Mhor & Annie Gillies one night, Catherine Gillies & Bellac next night.  Time about.  They are very kind.   

Tues.               Wednes.         Thurs.             Frid.

20                   21                   22                   23 April

All the same, spent in bed with my little darling baby.

Black and white photo of the Mrs Alice MacLachlan and Reverend Peter MacLachlan
Mrs Alice MacLachlan and Reverend Peter MacLachlan (from right); photographed by R Milne in 1907.

Satur. April 24th

Lovely day, I’m told.  Sat up in bed yesterday and today a little & none worse.

Sund. Ap. 25th  

Lots of visitors.  Girls have stopped sitting up tonight as the waulking starts tomorrow.  Baby & I well & sat up long time.  “M.A. Dodds” & “Montreal” (Johnnie McDonald) in.  four or five at church & Dunie got great praise from the skipper of M.A. Dodds for his english sermon.  Sent off telegrams with the news of baby to Mother, Flora, Beauty & Miss Moir, but they won’t get them till the end of this week.

Monday 26th Ap.

Got my clothes on & up in bedroom for a little.  Very shaky.  No boats.

Tuesd. 27th Ap.  

Up for longer.  Wrote some letters.  Sairy Gamp left me today  Paid her £1.  She was very pleased and is to come back for a morning to wash baby.

Wednes. 28th Ap:  

No news.  Getting up & today got for a little into sitting room.  Self & Baby.

Thurs. 29th Ap.

Waulking goes on every day.  Baby & I improving.  Dunie very busy & so good to Baby & myself.  All through this time he has been such a help, and tired out though he must have been has never complained.

Friday 30th Ap.  

Stormy.  One liner in & one trawler.  Don’t know names.  Men went out & got lovely fish, plaice, soles, & cod from trawler (a Russian Captain).  Norman McKinnon came down to tea & see baby.  We were not out of bedroom today as it was so cold & I had had castor oil.

The corn was sown a fortnight past, Thurs. last, & is only just appearing.