An irregularly-shaped fertile island of the Orkney Islands group, Sanday lies 24 miles (38 km) northeast of Kirkwall with which it is linked by car ferry and by air. It is a low-lying island rising to 65m (213 feet) at The Wart and has an area of 5043 ha (12461 acres). Interesting archaeological finds on the island have included the chambered cairn at Quoyness, a Viking ship-burial near Scar and a group of burial mounds at Tofts Ness. Kelp was the main industry in the 18th Century, Sanday providing one-quarter of Orkney's total production. Its population has shown a slow decline from 670 (1961), 592 (1971), 525 (1981), 533 (1991) to just 478 in 2001, but rallying to 494 in 2011. Today, the people are engaged in the production of knitwear, in the farming of beef cattle and sheep and in fishing for crab, lobster and scallops. The island also has its own electronics factory.

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