A moment of history was marked in St Kilda last night (Saturday August 17th) as the island’s seasonal workers and visitors lifted their last toast at the Puff Inn.
The iconic watering hole has closed after over 50 years providing the only social gathering place for MoD personnel. By invitation, it also offered a sociable shelter for the conservation workers and working volunteers who make up the summer population.
The building’s to be demolished as theMinistry of Defence base on Hirta is redeveloped. The MoD has had a tracking station on the island since 1957 and many visitors comment on the ugly and utilitarian MoD buildings near where they land from their boats.
MoD personnel are already moving into the new accommodation and a new social hub is included in the plans, which the National Trust for Scotland says are ‘sympathetic and sustainable’, but there are many who say it will never be the same now that the Puff Inn has gone.
The informal ‘St Kilda Club’ which brings together all those with a connection to the islands said a few more memories were created last night, to go with those already in local folklore. The pub has provided a welcome to emergency workers, volunteer teams and all kinds of visitors, as evidence by the flags, work team insignia, t-shirts and uniform items making up the décor and the graffiti on the ceiling – along with the essential giant puffin images that dominate the bar.
The picture of last night’s gathering at the Puff Inn comes from the St Kilda Club.