St Kilda joins the land register

Published: 31 August 2015

St Kilda has become the first UNESCO World Heritage Site to be added to Scotland's land register through keeper-induced registration (KIR).

Scotland's westernmost archipelago is one of only 32 locations worldwide to be awarded 'mixed' World Heritage status for both its natural and cultural significance.

The registration includes the island of Hirta's famous Village Street, a row of 19th century cottages that remained inhabited until 1930.

Sheenagh Adams, Keeper of the Registers of Scotland (RoS), said: "We are delighted to welcome such an important part of Scotland's heritage and natural beauty onto the land register. This ensures that St Kilda is protected by a state-backed warranty, further securing the site for the people of Scotland.

"As a remote area of land, the work we have done on St Kilda has proven invaluable experience as we complete our KIR pilot ahead of a public consultation later this year, which will explore how KIR could be used as a tool to complete the land register."

KIR is a new power introduced by the Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Act 2012, which allows the keeper to register land and properties without an application at her discretion.

Scottish ministers have invited RoS to complete the land register by 2024, with all public land registered by 2019. Held by the National Trust for Scotland, the registration of St Kilda is one part of the pilots the keeper has undertaken to register some of Scotland's heritage assets, which are unlikely to enter the land register through other routes.

The National Trust for Scotland's Director of Property and Visitor Services, Patrick Duffy, said: "St Kilda, on the western approaches from the North Atlantic, is one of only 32 places in the world awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status for both natural and cultural heritage – a heritage that is beautiful and beguiling.

"In this one place, 66 km out to sea from the nearest landfall, the long-playing stories of geology, wildlife and human culture have combined in the most dramatic ways possible.

"This project goes to show that there is nowhere that is too remote that it cannot be recorded on Scotland's land register for the public good, and this proves the effectiveness of the entire scheme."

Land and property registered on the land register benefit from defined boundaries that are clearly recorded and shown using the Ordnance Survey map. The register also provides an easier, faster, and less expensive way to transact with property than its predecessor, the General Register of Sasines.


Communications, Registers of Scotland, Meadowbank House, 153 London Road, Edinburgh, EH8 7AU

For more information or to request an interview, please contact Barry Connolly on 0131 528 3792 or For images of St Kilda, please contact Jim Whyteside on 0131 458 0241 or

Notes to editors

  1. Registers of Scotland (RoS) is a non-ministerial department of the Scottish administration and holds trading fund status. It is responsible for compiling and maintaining registers relating to property and other legal documents in Scotland. RoS records and safeguards the rights of the individual while providing open access to information on the registers.
  2. In May 2014, Scottish ministers announced a 10-year target to complete the land register.
  3. The recently introduced Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Act 2012 allows the keeper to transfer land and property from the deeds-based sasine register to the map-based land register without an application through a process known as keeper-induced registration.
  4. Find out more about completing the land register.
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