The name of Sanday means "sand
island", which is appropriate as one of its most outstanding features are the sweeping bays with their dazzling
white sandy beaches just like those found in the Caribbean.
Sanday is the largest of the North Isles of
Orkney and is approxinately 16 miles (26km) in length, with a population of around
island is both a haven for wildlife and contains a number of important archaeological
Around 4,000 BC, farmers were
settling on Sanday. The island offered the best conditions in Orkney for arable farming, reflected in the
extraordinary diversity of prehistoric, Viking Age and later settlements. This wealth is indicated by Mediaeval
taxation rolls which valued Sanday land higher than elsewhere in Orkney. Rich farmsteads usually remained in
occupation for thousand of years, resulting in massive accumulations of successively deserted buildings and midden
deposits, giving archaeological stratigraphies many metres thick.
On the Elsness Peninsula, you'll find one of
the most spectacular chambered cairns found in the Orkneys:
The Quoyness Chambered Tomb. The tomb and
its principal chamber date from around 2900 B.C., reaching a height of some 13 feet
The island has a number of other important
sites, including the Tofts Ness funerary complex. The complex is considered one of the most important prehistoric
sites in Britain, comprising of some 500 prehistoric burial mounds, representing thousands of years of mans
In 1991 a spectacular Viking-Age find was made near Scar in
Burness. This boat burial contained threehuman skeletons richly endowed with ornaments, household
goods and weapons. Such an ostentatious funeral could only have been staged by a family of enormous
Intriguingly Sanday folklore speaks of a fantastically rich
individual once having lived at Scar.
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. Sanday boasts all the seabirds, terns and waders found elsewhere in Orkney.
Migrant birds such as Hoopoe, Red-Breasted Flycatcher, Ortolan and Little and Pine Buntings have all been seen in
As an owner of one of our land plots, you will be making a direct contribution to
the preservation of this rich natural and archaeological heritage.