Sanday Orkney

Sanday is a good place to take children for holiday for great family vacations. Green, low-lying, bat-shaped island with miles of curving sandy beaches linking the spindly peninsulas – stretches of foreshore attract huge flocks of wading birds. Hardly showing above the waterline in a fog, it has caused many a shipwreck – once welcomed by islanders, because with no peat here, ship’s timber provided winter fuel.

Kettletoft village and harbour has hotel with pleasant if basic bar, but best place to stay is with postmistress Mrs Foubister, who also runs the island’s restaurant. There are also some B&Bs and self-catering cottages to let. The Sanday Knitters, successful local women’s co-operative, have sales of seconds every other Wednesday evening in the Vool Hall. Mainly machine-knitted Shetland wool with Fair Isle decoration or chunky hand-knitted Nordic wools – nice mittens, hats and slipper-socks.

Details on local shop’s notice board along with news of dances, drama club productions etc. Two more perhaps surprising ventures for this remote corner are thriving electronics business Sykes Robertson, whose Morse code and communications equipment is exported all over the world, while Stuart Christie Publishes the anarchist fortnightly Black Flag from here.

South-western corner, The Wart, is highest part looking out over Red Head of Eday; a walk leads down from here to Stove Bay, secluded little beach of bright white sand. Other long sweeping bays like Backaskaill are superb for walking and beachcombing, while bird-watching is best around northern peninsula at the Holms of Ire and Roos Wick. Seals can be found all around the coast. On eastern side of Elsness Peninsula, Quoyness chambered-cairn is spectacular example of neolithic masonry dating from 2900BC, similar to Maes Howe but with elongated central chamber and more cells.

Open April-Sept 9.30-7, Sun 2-7, Oct-March closes at 4. There are two taxi and car hire
firms, Moodie’s and Wilson’s. Wilson’s also hire bikes.

Virgin Australia