Sanday Orkney Islands – From cream teas to stress free – Moving to the Isle of Sanday
Johanna Burridge and her partner Jeff recently decided to start over and moved to Sanday Orkney islands, all the way from Devon on the south coast of England.. Jo and Jeff rent out their spare rooms to fellow travellers, which I think is an unusual but brilliant idea! I thought it would be interesting to hear from Jo, about how she has found living on a remote Scottish island and the challenges she has faced.
1) What brought you to Sanday originally? Had you been there before?
We were house-hunting and after realising we were not going to be able to buy what we wanted in Devon, we started looking further afield. We stumbled on a house for sale on Sanday and were hooked. Our first visit was to the Mainland to see what Orkney had to offer as we had never been before. Our second visit was in the winter to look at property for sale on Sanday. We thought the weather would put us off but like so many before us, we discovered that the climate is very mild.
2) What is unique about your accommodation?
Our accommodation is unique in that we rent out our spare rooms rather than have a bed and breakfast business. It is much more casual than the run of the mill B&B as guests are staying in our home and get more of a feel for living on an island. We like to think people arrive as guests and go home friends. We primarily advertise through the Airbnb website but not exclusively which means people who arrive on the island can knock on our door and ask if we have any room. We love people popping in and always have the kettle on.
3) What is your favourite place on Sanday and why?
That is a tough question to answer!! One of my favourite places is the Holmes of Ire which are a short distance from our home. They are a haven for wildlife as they are only accessible at low tide. I love the tranquil bay one side and the wild crashing waves on the other side.
4) What are the main things to see and do on Sanday?
Sanday is where you come to relax and unwind and the main things to see and do here are walking and exploring the island and seeing all the wildlife, the seals,otters and the birds. It is absolute heaven. We do however have a fantastic chambered cairn, The Croft, The Heritage Centre, various small businesses, craft shops and artists and 3 small shops.
5) When is the best time to visit Sanday?
How can I pick the best time to visit? I suppose logistically it has to be spring and summer as to reach us you have to sail or fly and on occasions the ferry and plane have been cancelled due to bad weather. June is fantastic with nearly 24 hours of daylight but September and October are also wonderful because you still have good weather most days and you can see so much wildlife such as seals basking on the beaches.
6) What are the best things about living on a remote island?
For me, the best thing about living on a remote island is leaving the stress of modern life behind. I haven’t worn a watch since I have been living here! No traffic jams, no deadlines, no busy, busy, busy – just peace and tranquility. You have time to stop and just look around you at all the beauty. We have just fallen in love with the way of life here. There is a good mix of Orcadians and Incomers and we have found everybody to be very friendly and helpful. I can’t picture us living anywhere else.
7) Have you been to any other Orkney islands or other Scottish islands? If so, which was your favourite?
Actually no, we haven’t explored any other island yet apart from Mainland Orkney. We still have so much to explore on Sanday. When you have found your forever home, you have no great desire to leave it. Having said that we have promised ourselves a trip to the other islands that make up Orkney.
8) How do you see the next 5-10 years for yourself on the island?
I would hope our Bed and Breakfast business will have taken off as well as the Pet Caring Service we also run where we pet sit, do home visits and dog walking as some basic dog training and maybe we will have invested in another house to rent out to either islanders or as a holiday home. So many ideas, the journey is half the fun!!
9) Do you think there has been an increase of tourism on Sanday, from the recent programmes about the Scottish islands?
As we have only been here a year we cannot compare this last year with previous years but I haven’t heard tell of a great influx of tourists.
10) Where can I find out more information?