The Bay of Skaill will probably be the visitor's first stop in Sandwick. This beautiful (and usually) sandy bay is a delight in itself and an ideal place to sit and relax. At the south end of the bay is the Hole O' Rowe, a large sea cave which has weathered through the cliff to form a large arched hole.
At the north end of the bay is the old churchyard of St Peters.

The real treasure of the Bay of Skaill is the prehistoric village of Skara Brae. This unique and remarkably well preserved village was exposed by a violent storm in 1850. Approximately 5000 years old, it seems that the village was occupied for about 600 years until approximately 2600BC.
The village consists of a group of six houses and a workshop connected by covered passages. The walls of the houses and passages are of drystone construction, and are buried to the top in midden - a mixture of shells, ashes. bones, and sand. The houses contain beds, cupboards in the walls, a type of dresser, and stone tanks in the floorspace. A visit to Skara Brae is a must for any visitor to Orkney.


Skara Brae
(C) Richard Welsby

South of the Bay of Skaill, the cliffs at Yesnaby offer some fine walking. A short walk from the car park is the Brough of Bigging, still attached to the mainland by a narrow neck. Continuing south is the Castle of Yesnaby, a rock stack with a hole in its base. Further south is North Gaulton Castle - a large rock stack recently used in a television advertising campaign, when a car was lowered onto its top by helicopter.

North of the car park, across a deep inlet, is the overgrown Broch of Borwick. Further north is the long headland called the Ness of Ramnageo, a sheltered nesting site for many sea birds.


Photograph courtesy of Richard Welsby


Copyright Orknet 1996