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Islands Book Trust

From Cleits to Castles. A St. Kildan Looks Back.

From Cleits to Castles. A St. Kildan Looks Back.

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There is a vast literature on the subject of St Kilda, almost all by outside writers. The anthentic voices of those who were native to the Island remain largely silent. This book helps redress the balance. It is the remarkable story of Calum MacDonald, who was born on St Kilda in 1908, and lived there until he was sixteen, when he left prior to the evacuation for the bright lights of Harris. He tells the story of a hard life earning a living from the inhospitable land, but there is another story too: one of closeness, kindness, spirituality and humour. Calum's life was to take twists and turns he could never have dreamt of during his childhood on the Island, but throughout his later career in great houses and a top London hotel, he was always mindful of his origins: 'All my life I have been very fortunate because I was born among a small community of Christian belief, who  lived  and shared their lives as a whole, not as  unit. Our closeness was partly due to kinship and isolation from the outside world'.

Published: 2010

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