Dun, St Kilda
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Dun, St Kilda

Dun is one of the St. Kilda archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, located to the southeast of Hirta, 53 miles (85 km) west of South Harris and 40 miles (64 km) west northwest of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides. Extending to 32 ha (69 acres) and rising to 178m (583 feet) above sea level at Bioda Mor, Dun is almost a mile (1.5 km) in length, but narrow, steep-sided and barren. Its position gives considerable protection to Village Bay on Hirta from prevailing winds blowing storm-force from the southwest. The island is devoid of human population and has no sheep, thus its only inhabitants are sea birds. The grassy slopes of its eastern side are peppered with thousands of puffin burrows. Approximately 50,000 pairs of puffin nest on the island, sharing it with 7000 pairs of Fulmar, 4000 pairs of Guillemot, 1200 pairs of Razorbill and the largest colony of Leach's Storm Petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) in the UK, amounting to 27,800 individuals in 1999, although this population is in steep decline.

Dun once formed an extension of Ruival on Hirta and is now separated by a channel which is only 20m (65 feet) in width. The St. Kildan men would cross to the island to harvest birds by hopping across the rocks at low tide and then pull themselves up onto the island by a chain fixed to the rock face.

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