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Tuesday, 5 April 2016

The old pier at Sandside

(Click on the images to see in the "lightbox" - bigger!)

There is a lovely old pier that separates the two beaches I walk on most days.  On one side is the curve of Sandside Bay, a sandy beach with a few shells, but not many, and on the other side is the coral beach and lots of rocks.  I always imagine there is a sub-sea roundabout with directions to each beach depending on whether you are sand or coral and shells.  Hee hee.

Anyway, this pier was built around 1860 specifically for the building of the two lighthouses on the island, Hoy High and Hoy Low.  The "Lighthouse Stevensons"  built most of the lighthouses around Scotland over a 150 year period, including the two on Graemsay.

The stone for the towers and lighthouse buildings were cut over on the Orkney Mainland and then shipped across to the pier at Sandside and taken by carts to the each location.  I'm not sure where the stone originated from, but it will have been one of the quarries in Orkney I would think.

Anyway, back to the pier.  It has always fascinated me as it just appears to "sit" upon the rocks.  I have NO idea how it was built but I love it's shape and form.  So here are a few photos. In some ways it's a tricky pier to approach by boat as there are lots of rocks on one side and as the tide goes out it's easy for a small boat to hit these, but there IS a channel safely through - you just have to find it!

Here the pier ends and joins the land.  Various efforts have been made to stop the coastal erosion around it, including cement bags, and dumping loads of concrete blocks!

This is the familiar view as I approach each day (usually with Button!).  Stromness over in the distance and the Point Of Ness (near the white pointy marker in the water just to the left of the harbour) where the stone for the lighthouses would have set out on it's journey across to Graemsay.   At low tide you can see the rocks!

I love the curve in this pier, a bit like a "buttress".  This is the bit that Button usually walks down.

This is at the end of the pier, just to the right in this photo.  Steps leading down to the rocks....

At low tide you can walk right out - though it's quite slippery with seaweed.  When the tide is in this makes a nice natural pool to swim in.

When you are standing in the "pool" at low tide the rocks rise up around you.....

This might be a better view - probably should have taken pier photos on a dull day! I love the stone work...

And here is another familiar view!

Both Button and I love this old pier - as you can tell as it features in most of our beach photos :-)


  1. Perhaps the combined weight of the stones keep it sat upon the rocks - pier pressure!

  2. Love it! Wish there was someplace like there here to walk around.

  3. Once again you have taken us on not only a beautiful tour but an interesting one too. You certainly live in a beautiful part of the world.

  4. Lovely photos of that fine old pier. I must take a closer look if I manage to visit again.

  5. Hi,I googled-"Most unusual blogs" and on the first page first link it took me to a page which lists you.
    I am glad I came here and hopefully will be regular.GR8 blog.

  6. lovely blog. I so look forward to reading each entry.
    Thank you.