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£1.5m paradise property on Orkney comes with its own beach

Beach paradise: Backaskaill Farm comes with its own beach.
Beach paradise: Backaskaill Farm comes with its own beach.

With miles of deserted white sand and turquoise water, Backaskaill Farm proves that paradise is a place on Earth.

From lying in the yard gazing up at the Northern Lights and making sandcastles on your own beach to watching the whales and dolphins playing in the bay, owners Jackie Sinclair and her husband Malcolm have loved everything about their home on Sanday, the largest of Orkney’s outer islands.

And it’s not just the views that are of significance as the farm made it into the history books last year when Malcolm unwittingly dug up what was later found to be an 8th Century Pictish cross stone.

As the couple prepare to retire they have reluctantly put their home on the market, including the three-bedroom farmhouse which is currently used as a five-star holiday retreat, as well as an adjoining cottage, 350 acres of land, traditional and modern steading buildings, silos, a garage, workshops and stables.

Doorstep of dreams: Backaskaill Farm enjoys a stunning beachside setting.

“I adore everything about the house from its location on the beach to its calm, practical interior, and if I could dig it up and move it I would,” said Jackie.

“It’s the complete package to me, a farming lifestyle with wildlife on the doorstep and a safe place for children and pets.”

Beachside location

Backaskaill farm lies in one of Sanday’s most stunning locations nestled at the foot of a hillside, on the very edge of a sweeping sandy bay.

The B-listed farmhouse and steading built in the 19th Century incorporates a former mill and character coach house tower.

It enjoys a sheltered situation and breathtaking views.

Life’s a beach: Back gardens don’t get much better than this.

Over time, the busy husband and wife team, who run the 1,250 acre How Farms as well as Sinclair Haulage and the local general store, purchased neighbouring small farms including Backaskaill back in 1993.

Run down and in need of a revamp, the couple put their heart and soul into renovating the farm.

A new chapter: Malcolm Sinclair and his wife Jackie will be sad to leave their incredible farm.

“We moved in back in 2001 and our son was born in the house in 2002 amidst ongoing renovations,” said Jackie.

“That was particularly special as it made him the fourth generation of our family born on the farm and, to date, still the last baby born on the island.

“So the house will always have a very important place in our hearts.”


350 acres of land

By 2007, the couple had built and moved to a new house at How to be closer to their main farm across the other end of Backaskaill Bay before fate led them back to their beloved home in 2020.

“The new owners loved the house as we did and continued to improve it, running a popular bed and breakfast, cafe and restaurant businesses there,” said Jackie.

“In 2020 the owners of the house decided to retire and move south so we took the opportunity to get the house back together with the farm once again.

“We are now offering it to the market together with its original 350-acre farm, traditional and modern steading, with more land available.”

Postcard perfect: No this isn’t a painting, this is the real-life view on offer at the farm.

B-listed farmhouse

The B-listed farmhouse, which the couple let out as part of their Orkney Retreats luxury self-catering accommodation, is a sight to behold.

“It hasn’t felt like a hospitality business to be fair, it has felt like having friends come to visit, and every one of them has commented on how wonderfully relaxed and at-home they have felt,” said Jackie.

Grand entrance: One step over the threshold and it’s impossible not to be cast under this property’s spell.

Setting the tone of the farmhouse is the enchanting entrance hall with chequered ceramic floor tiles, original iron coat hooks, understair storage and a spectacular sweeping monkey tail cast iron staircase.

The high ceilings link the upper and lower floors and the iconic traditional-style lighting is a key feature throughout the house.

Farmhouse kitchen

For those who have always dreamed of a farmhouse style kitchen/dining room, Backaskaill will not disappoint.

Featuring an oil-fired range cooker, quality fitted units, an island, a separate dual-fuel industrial stove and dual sinks, the kitchen is perfect for catering.

Coastal kitchen chic: The kitchen has plenty of space to cook and dine.

Lounge views

A corridor behind the kitchen leads to a bright and spacious double bedroom with en suite.

Upstairs, panoramic views can be savoured in the lounge which has a wood-burning stove.

Sit back and relax: The lounge is the ideal place to unwind.

Also on this floor is a family bathroom and two further bedrooms, one of which is a spacious twin room while the other is a single or twin room with incredible views.

Through a doorway from the first-floor landing, a staircase leads to two large rooms (former servants’ quarters) which are currently unused, and undergoing conversion into a cinema room and playroom but could easily become two further bedrooms.

Sweet dreams: A good night’s sleep is guaranteed in the spacious and bright bedrooms.

The farmhouse also has a handy utility room, a walled and gated front garden, a heated summerhouse, barn/garage, toilet, kitchen garden used to grow vegetables, and a paddock.

Spacious cottage

Meanwhile, the cottage has a separate entrance via a walled patio area.

First impressions are great as the cottage opens up with a spacious and cosy lounge and a conservatory where more breathtaking views can be soaked up.

There are plenty of comfortable rooms to choose from.

Cooking is a stylish affair in the kitchen/diner which has new shaker-style units and an induction hob together with a range-style stove set in a fireplace surround.

There is also an en suite double bedroom, while the cottage has a separate walled patio and back garden.

Outside, the lands span the width of the island from clifftop to beach and there is traditional and modern steading buildings, silos, a garage, workshop and stables.

Tranquil surroundings: This room is the perfect place to switch off.

Asked what she thinks will appeal to buyers, Jackie said: “The beach has to be a big selling point.

“Also purchasers wishing to offer hospitality have a good earning, as the highly regarded business is ready to go and bookings are already in for 2022 with 100% five-star feedback.

“On the farm side, some of Orkney’s most productive farmland produces prime beef and lamb realising market-leading prices.

“The scope to further develop the buildings and diversify the businesses is endless and were I 10 years younger I’d have converted the steading to hospitality units.”

Island life: Live in the peace and tranquility of Sanday.

With high-quality shops, schools, hotels, a medical practice and a dynamic social community scene, it’s Sanday’s lifestyle which is its unique selling point.

“Most of all I think the lifestyle will appeal to so many as the lands extending from beach to breathtaking clifftop, the birds, the wildlife conservation habitats on the farm, the fishing and shooting opportunities – it really is the complete package,” said Jackie.

So much potential: The farm has lots of outbuildings.

Although sad to be leaving, Jackie and Malcolm are confident that the farm will find owners who love it as much as they have.

“If we could choose, we’d sell it to someone who would love it as much as we have and continue to make it better, who would make an active contribution to the community, and who would take responsibility for the stewardship of this unique and very special farm,” said Jackie.

Backaskaill Farm, Sanday, Orkney, is on the market for offers over £1,550,000.

For more information phone K Allan Properties on 01856 876377 or go to the website.