With a length of 20 km with a maximum width of 8.5 km, it is the largest of the northern Orkney islands with an area of 50.43 km2. The coastline is due to narrow headlands and deep bays incisive very long. Sanday has a mild climate ( temperatures around 0-20 ° C ), but is subject to severe winter storms. The island is considered by some groups of small uninhabited islands ( Holmes) surrounded ( Holms of Ire Holms of track Ness ), the bird havens and seal places are.
Sanday has about 500 inhabitants. Colonization focuses Kettletoft, where until 1992 the ferry docked, and Roadside, also called "Lady Village". Most residents live on the scattered farms. On Sanday there are four shops, a church, a doctor, a nurse, a school, a pub, a " Village Hall " at the school and a small indoor pool. The school offers pre- kindergarten, seven primary schools and four secondary schools. The last years of school to spend the Island children in the boarding of Kirkwall. During the 1870s, the island had the highest population of around 2,500. Relic of this time is the abandoned village located in North Ortie.
Branches of industry are agriculture (mainly livestock ), to coastal fisheries, especially on mussels, crabs and lobsters, and increasingly tourism.
The most famous residents of the island is the composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. That the Orkney Islands Council the local registrar with his partner Colin Parkinson forbade the marriage of Davies on their home island, made in 2007 for international attention.
There are regular ferry services from Loth to Kirkwall and the neighboring islands of Eday and Stronsay and scheduled flights to Mainland. Due to the distances, it is hardly possible to visit all the sights on Sanday on a day visit.
Besides the natural beauty such as the rare plants and the often populated by seals sandy beaches, there are numerous attractions.
To the east of the lighthouse built in 1802 is "Start Point", which is separated from the main island at high tide. On the peninsula Tresness, in the south of the same farm lies with the well-preserved Horse Energy House, a hexagonal building with its pyramid roof, in the horse produced the energy to manage the farm. An example of an attempt to produce the required energy through a steam engine, is the now dilapidated Stove model farm in the south. It failed because the cost of fuels such as coal and peat, which does not exist on Sanday, were too high.
For guests there are two hotels, a hostel, several accommodation ( B & B) and apartments available.