Contact us on 01851 705743 or

As the seventh anniversary of the death of the last native St Kildan approaches, a 1961 interview with fellow islander Norman MacQueen is being highlighted by the Scottish audio website archive.

In this rarely heard interview from over six decades ago, the late Norman MacQueen talks with Dr John MacInnes of the School of Scottish Studies about the local diet of seabirds and their cooking and storing methods.

Previewing the interview, Tobar an Dualchais ~ Kist o Riches said: “Sea birds were the mainstay of their diet. When fulmar was boiled, oatmeal would be added to the juices to make soup.

“Young fulmars were fried without being boiled first: they fried in their own oil.

“Full-grown fulmar and guga [young gannet] were caught and eaten. Bird eggs were also eaten, with the exception of gulls’ eggs. Birds would also be salted and kept in barrels in the byre.”

You can listen to the interview on the Tobar an Dualchais ~ Kist o Riches website.

The last of the native St Kildans, Rachel Johnson, died in April 2016 at 93, having been evacuated at the age of eight. She and her family settled in Clydebank, and Rachel lived there for the rest of her life.

Rachel Johnson, third from right, with other St Kildans during an anniversary visit to Hirta in 1980.  Image credit: National Trust for Scotland