Sanday is the largest of Orkney's North Isles and, as its name suggests, has beautiful beaches, bays and dunes. Home to a population of over 500, Sanday is a feast for the eyes with an unspoiled coastline that is absolutely stunning.
This tranquil island was not without its dangers in the past. Its low-lying coast and landscape made Sanday difficult to see and ships often foundered on its reefs and rocks until the first Robert Stevenson designed lighthouse, Start Point, was built in 1807. Rebuilt and painted with its distinctive stripes, it is now an imposing landmark and a magnet for lighthouse baggers.
In addition to its idyllic beaches and coastline, Sanday boasts an impressive archaeological heritage. One of the most stunning and significant discoveries was that of a Viking boat burial complete with the skeletons of an elderly woman, a younger man and a child. Findings from the grave included weapons, a sickle and an elaborately carved whalebone plaque which is now on display at the Orkney Museum in Kirkwall.
Sanday has a rich natural habitat and is home to many breeds of birds and animals making it a mecca for wildlife enthusiasts. There is a heritage centre and a challenging nine-hole golf course, while the Sanday Ranger tour is the perfect way to experience the island's many charms.
The island has an excellent choice of accommodation as well as flights and ferries from Kirkwall six days a week.