Historian calls for St Kilda to have 'living community'

Hirta, St Kilda. Pic: Kevin MacKenzie Iain Thornber said scientists could populate the new community

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Descendants of people evacuated from St Kilda 80 years ago should be given a chance to repopulate the islands, a writer and historian has said.

Iain Thornber, from Morvern, said scientists could be among those who could live year-round on the archipelago.

The last islanders left on 29 August 1930 because life had become too difficult.

But Mr Thornber said today it would be possible to stay on St Kilda.

He told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme parts of the Unesco dual World Heritage site could remain out of bounds.

National Trust for Scotland owns the archipelago. It has staff working on the islands at certain times of the year along with Ministry of Defence employees and contractors.

He said: "It would be wonderful to have a living community there again all year round.

"Just think of the opportunities to do some wonderful scientific work there. There are opportunities for oceanographers and botanists."

Mr Thornber added: "I think the opportunity should be offered by National Trust for Scotland and the government to the descendants of St Kildans who were scattered all over the world."

The 80th anniversary of the evacuation of St Kilda is to be marked by a series of events, including talks and an exhibition.

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