Apparently the native people of St Kilda had developed a genetically inherited elongated big toe that let the men cling more easily to the cracks in the rocks. On one side of the island is the Mistress Stone where marriageable men had to balance on one leg - on the edge of a 300 ft drop - to prove their agility on the rocks and their ability to support a family.
Nearly a century ago, the last 36 residents were evacuated from the most remote part of the British Isles, St Kilda, an isolated archipelago off the beautiful and rugged western coast of Scotland.
After 86 years, the music of St Kilda has been discovered, recorded in a Scottish care home by Trevor Morrison, an elderly man who was taught piano by an inhabitant of St Kilda. Heard by the outside world for the first time these haunting melodies offer a last link to the so-called 'island on the edge of the world'.
Welcome to the incredible story of the lost songs of St Kilda.
But the most extraordinary relic of antiquity in the village is a subterranean house. I had heard of it on my first visit; and on the 13th July 1876 determined to have it opened and examined. A crop of potatoes grew on the top, and the owner at first refused to allow this to be disturbed. But by dint of raillery, persuasion, and a promise to pay the damage, he at length acceded to my request. This underground dwelling was discovered about thirty-two years ago by a man who was digging the ground above it, and was generally called the House of the Fairies. The aperture on the top was filled up again, and it had never been opened since. But after a little search the hole was found and an entrance made. Two or three men volunteered to clear out the stones and soil that had accumulated on the floor to a depth of several feet, and worked with a will. The house was found to be twenty-five feet long by three feet eight inches wide, and about four feet in height. The walls consisted of three or four ranges of stones, a roof of slabs resting on the sides. This house runs due north and south, and curiously enough there is a drain under the floor. Amongst the debris on the floor I found numerous stone axes, knives, and fragments of a lamp, as well as pieces of rude pottery. As there was no tradition concerning this house, and as it is assigned to the fairies, it may be very old; but I am inclined to think that the stone period extended to a very recent date in St Kilda. I have some satisfaction in believing that I am the discoverer of stone implements in St Kilda, and that my claim has been recognised by the Society of Scottish Antiquaries.
In 1844 a souterrain was discovered, known to the islanders as the House Of Fairies. It consists of a lintelled passage, some 9m long with at least one known lateral branch. The stones used in its construction are large, with massive walls converging towards to the top to accommodate the lintels. The structure which has been excavated numerous times since 1844 with finds giving a suggested date back to the first or early second millennium AD. A few decorated potsherds are similar to standard Iron Age finds uncovered elsewhere in the Western Isles.
Amazon's House (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Folklore
Upon the West Side of this Isle, there is a Valley with a Declination towards the Sea, having a Rivulet running through the Middle of it, on each Side of which is an Ascent of half a Mile; all which Piece of Ground is call'd by the Inhabitants, the female Warrior's Glen.
This Amazon is famous in their Traditions; her House or Dairy of Stone is yet extant, some of the Inhabitants dwell in it all Summer, though it be some hundred Years old; the whole is built of Stone, without any Wood, Lime, Earth or Mortar to cement it, and is built in the Form of a Circle, Pyramid-wise towards the Top, having a vent in it, the Fire being always in the Centre of the Floor; the Stones are long and thin, which supplies the Defect of Wood. The Body of this House contains not above nine Persons sitting; there are three Beds or low Vaults that go off the Side of the Wall, a Pillar betwixt each Bed, which contains five Men apiece;
at the Entry to one of these low Vaults is a Stone standing upon one End fix'd, upon this they say she ordinarily laid her Helmet; there are two Stones on the other Side, upon which she is reported to have laid her Sword: She is said to have been much addicted to Hunting, and that in her Time all the Space betwixt this Isle and that of Harries, was one continued Tract of dry Land.
There was some Years ago a Pair of large Deers-Horns found in the Top of Oterveaul Hill, almost a Foot under Ground; and there was likewise a wooden Dish full of Deer's Grease found in the same Hill under Ground. 'Tis also said of this Warrior, that she let loose her Grey-hounds after the Deer in St. Kilda, making their Course towards the opposite Isles.
There are several Traditions of this famous Amazon. But I shall trouble my reader with no more of them.
In this isle are plenty of excellent fountains or springs; that near the female warrior's house is reputed the best: it is called Tou-bir-nim-beuy, importing no less than the well of qualities or virtues; it runs from east to west, being sixty paces ascent above the sea: I drank of it twice, an English quart each time; it was very clear, exceeding cold, light and diuretic; I was not able to hold my hand in it above a few minutes for its coldness; the inhabitants of Harries find it effectual against windy cholics, gravel, and head-aches; this well hath a cover of stone.