Interesting Info
The Maeshowe-like chambered cairn, Mount Maesry, which is found on Start Island, was once used by lighthouse keepers to store potatoes!
Useful Advice
Start Point Lighthouse can be reached, on foot, across the sand when the tide is low.
Essential sites to visit
White Mill Bay / Sandquoy / Lopness
Start Point Lighthouse
Quoyness Chambered Cairn
Start Point Lighthouse

White Mill BeachSanday is the largest of Orkney's North Isles, at 20 miles long, but it is low, no higher the 20m at it's highest point. As a result, the island is difficult to see in fog and was claimed almost as many ship wrecks as North Ronaldsay before the construction of Start Point Lighthouse. Start Point was the first lighthouse to have a revolving lamp.

Sanday gets it's name from it's wealth of beaches, which are long, and peaceful, with white sand. The sand dunes found on Sanday's beaches (particularly Tresness) are very large indeed.

Lopness wreckAlong the shore of Lopness, can be seen the metallic skeletal remains of a WW1 German destroyer. Only the engines remain now, the rest is buried in the sand.

Quoyness Chambered Cairn is one of Orkney's greatest chambered Cairns and it is tall at 4m high. It can be foundQuoyness Chambered Cairn on the tidal island of Elsness. There have also been Viking finds at Scar and Stone Age houses found at Pool.

Sanday has a rich pasture and most of the island is intensively farmed. Once Sanday was known as the granary of Orkney, now mostly beef farming takes place. There is fishing from the village of Kettletoft. Crafts and knitwear also play an important part of the islands economy.

Sanday can be reached by ferry or air from Kirkwall.

Nowhere in the world, I suppose, is the sky so dominant as in this place.
I would like very much to be in Sanday on a starry winter night. The sky and the beaches.
The tide ebbs far out, leaving immense tawny stretches of sand.
The first Norsemen had no difficulty in giving Sanday a name
George Mackay Brown, Under Brinkies Brae

Sanday Sand Dunes photo © Fraser Dixon, Start Point Lighthouse photo © Fraser Dixon, White Mill photo © Fraser Dixon, Lopness wreck photo © Fraser Dixon, Quoyness photo © Fraser Dixon. All text © Magnus Dixon. GMB extract © The Estate of George Mackay Brown.

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