Sightlines

New books on St Kilda have usually been well advertised by their publishers in recent years, so keeping up with the ever expanding literature of St Kilda is not difficult. However, avid readers of anything new on St Kilda may have missed an account by a visitor to St Kilda in rather unusual circumstances. ‘Sightlines’ (Sort of Books, 2012, ISBN 978-0-956-3086-6-5) by Kathleen Jamie, Professor of Creative Writing at Stirling University, is a collection of fourteen essays about landscapes, in which we are invited to ‘look afresh at our surroundings’. The essays are as much about wildlife as landscapes, but they include an account of a visit to St Kilda at third attempt. She accompanied the four surveyors from the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Scotland who surveyed the built structures on St Kilda over three years, on one of their annual visits. She worked alongside Jill Harden and Sam Dennis, two archaeologists from the NTS who will be known to some past work party members. Her reflections on the people, the work, the islands and the wildlife make interesting reading. In the same volume, there is also an equally interesting account of two weeks on North Rona, with Jill Harden and Stuart Murray, recording the seabirds and the archaeology.

Jeffrey Stone