Sanday Soulka

Sanday Soulka banner
Written by Roderick Thorne

Intrigued by the name? You’ll have to look it up on the website –

2013 is the third year of the Sanday Soulka weekends, when island life is celebrated with a variety of activities designed to appeal to all ages and interests, and to residents and visitors alike.

Each weekend contains a mixture of music, walks, talks, open art and craft studios and the model railway; you’ll have an opportunity to see the island’s photo-archive, Croft Museum and Heritage Centre. The timetable of events is designed to co-ordinate the skills and enthusiasm of many island groups and individuals, and local hostelries will cater for the hungry and thirsty.

Soulka weekends are arranged to encourage visitors to stay for longer than just a day, and are also timed to follow some of Orkney’s well-established Festivals…

May 24-26  (beginning with an Orkney Folk Festival ceilidh)

June 28-30 (following the St. Magnus Festival)

August 2-4 (incorporates Sanday’s Agricultural and Industrial Show)

September 13-15 (follows the Orkney Science Festival)

Along with the Folk Festival ceilidh on opening night, the May Saturday will include the Guides’ annual Sale, a visit to (and up) Start Point Lighthouse, and an candle-lit evening concert. On Sunday, a collaboration with the RSPB’s Enjoy Wild Orkney project has guaranteed a special boat-charter from the island to Stronsay, where more passengers will embark to enjoy the commentary of bird-artist and naturalist John Holloway.

June’s weekend coincides with the last day of the school term, and an exciting new event is still under wraps. Next day the island’s Saddle Club members and their steeds will join in the Fancy Dress parade. Later in the afternoon a quintet from Kirkwall will encourage everyone to join in a Tea-Dance featuring the Tango! Orkney Ferries’ special excursion on the Sunday allows us to host a concert by Stronsay’s Silver Darlings.

The biggest day in Sanday’s social calendar is Show Day – animals outside, vegetables, baking, handcrafts inside. The busy day ends with prize-giving and a splendid dance. Next day the highlight is the Sea-Angling competition centred around Kettletoft; afterwards a fish barbecue and the ‘down-the-street’ Strip-the-Willow. And on Sunday – the Orkney Feast.

Appropriately, there’s a strong science theme running through the September weekend, which follows the Science Festival. Geoffrey Stell, acknowledged wartime-in-Orkney expert, will be on the island, Orkney-based Caroline Wickham-Jones will co-ordinate an archaeology workshop, bird-specialists who regularly visit Sanday at migration time will lead walks, and Broken Strings will be playing on Saturday night.

We really look forward to giving you an island welcome; come and join in the fun. Planning is still in the early stages, so keep up to date with

About the author

Roderick Thorne

Roderick Thorne is the Sanday Ranger, and Chairman of the Sanday Soulka Group.