Waterproof posting

By the late 1890s, a unique system of mail dispatch had developed on the remote Scottish islands of St Kilda – Dun, Soay and Boreray: letters were enclosed in a waterproof receptacle attached to a homemade buoy or buoyant object and launched into the sea in the hope that they would wash ashore and be forwarded on by whoever chanced upon them. The idea had been developed by John Sands, a journalist who found himself stranded on the islands in 1876.

By 1930, the island’s inhabitants had left and now the only year-round residents are military personnel; conservation workers and scientists who spend time there in the summer months.