Sanday is sixteen miles long and has a population of around 550. It is a low-lying island which led to problems in the past, as ships foundered on the reefs and rocks, unable to see the shore. The first Start Point lighthouse was designed by Robert Stevenson and completed in 1807. It was rebuilt in 1870 and painted with distinctive stripes and is now a magnet for lighthouse baggers.

History lovers are drawn to Sanday too as the island has a high density of ancient and Viking structures and tombs. One of the most stunning discoveries was a Viking boat burial which contained the skeletons of an elderly woman, a younger man and a child. A rich find of grave goods included weapons, a Celtic brooch, a sickle and an elaborate and well preserved carved whalebone plaque which is on display now in the Orkney Museum in Kirkwall.

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