Self sufficiency is nothing new. The village of Lady in the centre of Sanday was a busy place at the turn of the century. The remaining croft houses tell the story of how these farmers and their families lived.
With three generations (and sometimes more!) living in two small rooms, it was compact living. Vegetables and cereals were grown and chickens, sheep and cows were raised for their eggs, wool and milk. Fish and shellfish were caught and collected along the coastline. Some were salted or dried to ensure they lasted into the long dark winters that these islands experience.
Home-grown foods were traded for lamp oil and necessities with travelling journeymen. Fuel was in the form of dried cow 'scones' (cow pats!!) and driftwood. Sanday has no peat or trees of its own so alternative means of fuel were essential.
The croft houses were small but comfortable with a large fireplace and the traditional box-beds seen throughout the Scottish islands. Small touches made the house a home and were stored alongside the more functional every day items found in the small family rooms.
After a winter of love by a team of island residents the croft is now back to how it would have been over 100-years ago. Cosy but basic, the story of Jock Scott and his family who lived in this small home until 1966 comes alive as you wander and explore.
Visiting The Croft on Sanday
The Croft is in the middle of Lady Village on Sanday. There is a large parking area next to the Heritage Centre and The Croft is tucked behind Burnt Mound and the fire station. It looks just like a home but the information boards outside show that you have found the correct building.
It is open:
Beginning of May - End of October, 7 days a week, 9.30am-5pm
Winter - Saturdays and Sundays, 9.30am - 5pm, and at other times by arrangement
Entry is free but donations can be made in the Heritage Centre which has lots of information about the island is well worth a visit.
Allow at least 30 minutes to visit the Croft, Burnt Mound and the Heritage Centre, longer if you like to take your time around the museum.
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