The attractive island of Sanday is the largest of the North Isles of Orkney and as the name suggests its most outstanding features are the sweeping bays with their white un-spoilt sandy beaches.
Lying nearly 15 miles northeast of Kirkwall; access by air and sea is comfortable and speedy. Sanday is a peaceful place which requires time to savour its gentle charm. You can fish for trout in the lochs or wander the beaches, visit archaeological sites or watch the basking seals. Sanday offers unlimited opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts both professional and amateur. You can watch fishing boats at Kettletoft or farmers tending their fields in the long, light days of summer.
You may gather your own thoughts and impressions in one of the island bars among the friendly and interested local folk. The island has a swimming pool and community centre adjoining the school as well as a nine-hole golf course.
The coastline of the island gives easy access to one of Sanday's principal wildlife attractions -seals. Common Seal pups can be seen swimming at Otterswick in June and Grey seals are born on secluded beaches in November. Another delight of the beaches are the shells - the Cowrie (Grottie Buckie) and the Faroese Sunset being two favourites. More elusive are Sanday's otters but the alert will find their tell-tale tracks - five toes and a trailing tail -in the sand and their 'spraint' or droppings on prominent knolls or rocks. Sanday boasts all the seabirds, terns and waders found elsewhere in Orkney. Vagrant birds such as Hoopoe, Red-Breasted Flycatcher, Ortolan and Little and Pine Buntings have all been seen in recent summers.
Quoyness Chambered Tomb - This Neolithic chambered
tomb, at least 2000BC, is one of Orkney's archaeological showpieces.
It has a main chamber, six cells and served a whole community. Admission
free, open all year.
Cata Sand - Tidal sandy bay flanked by a unique
series of spectacular dunes. Waders andCommon Seals can be seen here
and in nearby Newark Bay.
Tresness Farm - Horse Engine House - Nineteenth
century engine house with octagonal pyramidical roof. A horse turned
machine which drove a threshing-mill in an adjoining barn.
Tresness - Wasso Broch and Chambered Tomb - Part
of the wall of the broch can be seen and at the end of the Ness lies
an unexcavated tomb.
Bay of Lopness - Wreck of German Destroyer - At
low tide the remains of WW1 destroyer BOS which went ashore in 1919
can be seen; Picnic site and information board.
Start Point – Lighthouse - First tower was
erected in 1802', in 1806 it was fitted with the first revolving light
in Scotland by Robert Stevenson, grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson.
Visited by Sir Walter Scott in 1814 the tower was rebuilt in 1870 and
subsequently painted with distinctive vertical black and white stripes.
The lighthouse can be visited by arrangement with A. Skea at Garbo.
Tel: 01857 600385
Lettan - War-time Radar Station - Remains of part
of the 1940 air-defence chain up the east coast of Britain.
Northwaa - Site of Special Scientific Interest - Botanically
this area of shallow lochans and wet machair is very rich. Waders,
breeding ducks, swans and migrants can all be seen.
Tofts Ness - Prehistoric Funerary Complex - Potentially
one of the most important Prehistoric sites in Britain comprising 500
burial mounds. The whole complex represents thousands of years of man's
Otterswick - Waders and Seals
Ortie - Abandoned 19th Century Village - Arranged
in a remarkably long straight 'kloss', the village at one time housed
more than 60 people.
Orkney Angora Craft Shop - Angora rabbit farm with
knitwear and craft shop
Quoy Banks - Viking-Age Boat Burial - Highly significant
boat burial. Finds include the famous whalebone plaque, gaming pieces,
a comb, a sword and a brooch. It was washed away in a storm shortly
after excavation finished
Scar - Nineteenth Century Westove Estate House - Extensive
house, steadings and garden wall indicate the size and importance of
this estate. Close by are the remains of a circular stone windmill
used for grinding meal.
Holms of Ire - St Colm Chapel and Wreck - The remains
of the chapel are on the Inner Holm, while the steam trawler ‘Alex
Hasting’ was wrecked on the Outer Holm in 1939.
Rethie Taing - Burial Mound - Probably a chambered
tomb similar to Quoyness
Ness of Brough - Pagan Viking Graves - One barrow
was excavated in the 19th century and yielded a Viking sword, spearhead,
shield boss and
axe. An investigation in 1997 by "the Time Team" showed the other
mound to be much older than Viking.
Boloquoy Mill - Early l9th century water-driven
meal mill constructed of random rubble with slated roof.
Pool - Early Settlements - Badly eroded. The lower
level is Neolithic. before 3000 BC, and above that, Pictish and then
Viking remains (unfortunately no access to building).
Stove 'Model Farm' - Ruined buildings of a 19th
century industrialised farm with a steam engine house, red-brick chimney
and boiler house. (unfortunately no access to building).
Holms of Spurness - A favourite breeding site of
the Grey Seal, which pups in October.
Neolithic Settlement - Implements and signs of
settlement from before 2000BC have been found here. The navigation
cairn at Hacks Ness is on a prehistoric burial mound.
Cross Kirk - Medieval Church and Burial Ground - The
ruins date from the 16th century but probably stand on the site of
a Viking settlement.