Out and About

Start Point Lighthouse - © Mary LennieYou'll always find long stretches of unspoiled sandy beaches, an abundance of birds, seals and other wildlife, glittering seas, clear air and spectacular skies (by day and by night) in Sanday.  Two hundred years ago in 1806, the Start Point light was lit for the first time. The Lighthouse buildings at Start Point were designed and built by Thomas Smith, assisted by a certain Robert Stevenson, founder of the "Lighthouse Stevenson" dynasty.  Keep an eye on the news and events page for info on trips up the lighthouse and other activities over the course of the summer in Sanday.  You'll also find details there of this year's Sanday Sundays, special monthly events on Sundays from May to September. Occasionally on Sundays also, you will find live music at the Kettletoft Hotel; jazz, traditional and rock.  Maybe you?ll hear some our young violinists too; Sanday's Fiddle Club is held in very high regard throughout Orkney and beyond.

Throughout the summer, the island's Ranger has a varied programme; guided walks, minibus expeditions, and activities. Join in these, or enjoy some of our signed routes with the accompanying . If you prefer to take a ride you can drive round our Visitors' Trail taking in craft shops and artists? studios; holistic therapies; a genuine Romany Experience; and a fishing loch. There?s also a play scheme every week, at the Community Centre, where children can enjoy a range of organized activities for a very small fee. Why not gain an introduction to an age old craft and learn to spin with The Sanday Spinners; regular courses are arranged in conjunction with .

Embers cricket match action - © Rosemary SeagriefJune is one of the most hectic months in the island's social calendar. In June, there is the Island Picnic. Financed by a 'round-the-houses' collection, it?s a cross between 'It's a Knockout' and a grand village fete ? sideshows all over the place, and everything ? even candy floss? free! If you're a visitor, you'll be very welcome ? but do feel able to buy plenty of raffle tickets or make a donation at the evening dance.  Around mid-summer time there is something extra-special in the wind, and in the sand. June also sees that annual Embers cricket match between Sanday and Stromness cricket clubs ? an unlikely event this far north!

July is the month when vast numbers of birds hatched this summer should be fledging ? so long as the weather and food supplies are favourable. When you're out walking, you'll encounter the anxious calls and distraction displays of some of our breeding birds ? try not to keep them from their fledglings for too long. The Ranger takes groups on night-time excursions too, to see some of the vast number of young Storm petrels that explore the North Sea coasts at this time of year.

Visitors in early August should be sure to come to the Sanday Show. Many of the island's crofters and farmers will bring their finest animals to be judged by independent experts. Although most of the parishes on Orkney's mainland have their own show, Sanday's is unique among the islands ? and amazing not only for the variety and quality of the stock on display, but also for the standard of home-grown produce and craft-work that is laid out in the Community Hall alongside the arena. At the end of the day, come to the Show Dance to see the Prize-giving and join in the celebrations.

New Years Day 2006 - © William SichelFancy a swim? OK, the water can be a bit chilly off Sanday's shores, so if you don?t fancy a dip in the briny, you should make sure you have a swim among the dolphins (featured on the tiled decoration) in Sanday's indoor pool, part of the ever-growing Community school complex. If you're even more energetic, have a session on the aerobic machines in the Fitness suite.  What about a round of golf?  Where else will you share the course with sheep, Oystercatchers, Arctic skuas? An array of Links flowers will dazzle you while you search for a lost ball. You'll certainly never find yourself exasperated by the number of players.

Sanday's weather is fickle, so come prepared for sun, wind and rain (often all on the same day). And then get out and enjoy yourself!  This is a small, friendly community, with a tranquil, easy-going way of life (though it has to be said that we do know how to party!)  We look forward to seeing you in Sanday.

Header photo of Oystercatcher - © Chris Werb
Start Point Lighthouse - © Mary Lennie
Embers cricket match action - © Rosemary Seagrief
Walks leaflet cover
New Year?s Day 2006  -  © William Sichel