Songs for St Kilda

St Kilda Parliament on the island of Hirta, St Kilda. Pic courtesy of NTS

To celebrate 60 years since the National Trust for Scotland began managing St Kilda, a collection of songs have been released, inspired by the dual World Heritage Site.


The Wren and the Salt Air is the culmination of a project between the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) and Jenny Sturgeon, a singer/songwriter from Aberdeen, who was commissioned to write a series of pieces of music inspired by the archipelagos’ wildlife and history.

With dramatic cliffs, a wealth of human history and a mass of animal life, including a seabird population of over half a million birds and its own sub-species of wren and mouse, St Kilda and its history have long captured the interest of people across the globe.

It was in 1930 that the last St Kildans left the island of Hirta and in 1957, the Marquess of Bute bequeathed the islands to the NTS.

Today, the NTS works in partnership to further a continuing programme of conservation and research on the islands, ensuring the care and protection of this World Heritage Site.


Four new pieces of music celebrating
St Kilda’s unique wildlife and history


In September 2016, Jenny spent five days on St Kilda exploring the nature, landscape, sounds and history of the islands which make up the archipelago (Hirta, Boreray, Dun and Soay). Taking inspiration from the islands, Jenny created four new pieces of music celebrating St Kilda’s unique wildlife and history.

“Being able to explore and get a sense of the nature of St Kilda was humbling,” said Jenny, who previously worked as a seabird biologist.


‘You could spend years there and not
see everything St Kilda has to offer’


“It’s hard not to be inspired by that place! Every island has a unique character and you could spend years there and not see everything it has to offer.”

Jenny revealed that three of the new tracks were inspired by bird species she watched during her time on St Kilda.

“I wanted to reflect these encounters in the melody and lyrics of the pieces, as well as through using field recordings of these birds,” added Jenny.

“It was great fun putting bird calls and the music together!”


Listen to one of Jenny’s tracks below:



The Wren and the Salt Air is available to download
and buy here, with 10% of the profits from the CD
going to support conservation work on St Kilda.