Ayre's Rock Hostel

Camping, Motorhomes, Pods and Self Catering

Ayre's Rock

Sanday Hostel, Campsite and Self Catering Accomodation

About Sanday
The attractive island of Sanday is the largest of the North Isles of Orkney and as the name suggests its most outstanding features are the sweeping bays with their white un-spoilt sandy beaches. Sanday is a peaceful place which requires time to savour its gentle charm. You can fish for trout in the lochs or wander the beaches, visit archaeological sites or watch the basking seals. Sanday offers unlimited opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts both professional and amateur. The island has a swimming pool and community centre adjoining the school as well as a nine-hole golf course. There are a number of shops selling general goods and a market garden, so there’s no shortage of food and drink.

Although the pace of life is slow here, we know how to enjoy ourselves. We keep ourselves entertained with a variety of sports, music of all kinds, dances and a range of other activities.

Ideal location for water sports Kayaking, Kite Surfing and Windsurfing.

Things to see and do on Sanday...

  1. Quoyness Chambered Tomb – This Neolithic chambered tomb, at least 2000BC, is one of Orkney’s archaeological showpieces. It has a main chamber, six cells and served a whole community. Admission free, open all year.
  2. Cata Sand – Tidal sandy bay flanked by a unique series of spectacular dunes. Waders andCommon Seals can be seen here and in nearby Newark Bay.
  3. Tresness Farm – 
  4. Tresness – Wasso Broch and Chambered Tomb – Part of the wall of the broch can be seen and at the end of the Ness lies an unexcavated tomb.
  5. Bay of Lopness – Wreck of German Destroyer – At low tide the remains of WW1 destroyer B-98 which went ashore in 1919 can be seen; Picnic site and information board.
  6. Start Point – Lighthouse – First tower was erected in 1802′, in 1806 it was fitted with the first revolving light in Scotland by Robert Stevenson, grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson. Visited by Sir Walter Scott in 1814 the tower was rebuilt in 1870 and subsequently painted with distinctive vertical black and white stripes.
  7. Lettan – War-time Radar Station – Remains of part of the 1940 air-defence chain up the east coast of Britain.
  8. Northwaa – Site of Special Scientific Interest – Botanically this area of shallow lochans and wet machair is very rich. Waders, breeding ducks, swans and migrants can all be seen.
  9. Tofts Ness – Prehistoric Funerary Complex – Potentially one of the most important Prehistoric sites in Britain comprising 500 burial mounds. The whole complex represents thousands of years of man’s development.
  10. Otterswick – Waders and Seals
  11. Ortie – Abandoned 19th Century Village – Arranged in a remarkably long straight ‘kloss’, the village at one time housed more than 60 people. No vehicle access.
  12. Burnt mount Lady village
  13. Quoy Banks – Viking-Age Boat Burial – Highly significant boat burial. Finds include the famous whalebone plaque, gaming pieces, a comb, a sword and a brooch. It was washed away in a storm shortly after excavation finished
  14. Scar – Nineteenth Century Westove Estate House – Extensive house, steadings and garden wall indicate the size and importance of this estate. Close by are the remains of a circular stone windmill used for grinding meal.
  15. Holms of Ire – St Colm Chapel and Wreck – The remains of the chapel are on the Inner Holm, while the steam trawler ‘Alex Hasting’ was wrecked on the Outer Holm in 1939.
  16. Rethie Taing – Burial Mound – Probably a chambered tomb similar to Quoyness
  17. Ness of Brough – Pagan Viking Graves – One barrow was excavated in the 19th century and yielded a Viking sword, spearhead, shield boss and axe. An investigation in 1997 by “the Time Team” showed the other mound to be much older than Viking.
  18. Boloquoy Mill – Early l9th century water-driven meal mill constructed of random rubble with slated roof.
  19. Pool – Early Settlements – Badly eroded. The lower level is Neolithic. before 3000 BC, and above that, Pictish and then Viking remains (unfortunately no access to building).
  20. Stove ‘Model Farm’ – Ruined buildings of a 19th century industrialised farm with a steam engine house, red-brick chimney and boiler house. (unfortunately no access to building).
  21. Holms of Spurness – A favourite breeding site of the Grey Seal, which pups in October.
  22. Neolithic Settlement – Implements and signs of settlement from before 2000BC have been found here. The navigation cairn at Hacks Ness is on a prehistoric burial mound.
  23. Cross Kirk – Medieval Church and Burial Ground – The ruins date from the 16th century but probably stand on the site of a Viking settlement.
  24. Sanday Heritage Center and Croft museum