Start Spinning

The Sanday Spinners’ Introduction to Spinning course is now available for booking.

Gill demonstrates the use of the niddy noddy

Gill demonstrates the use of the niddy noddy

Offered in association with the island’s accommodation providers, the course promises an unforgettable  “Island Experience” for the novice handspinner. Take advantage of special rates for accommodation and learn to spin, with individual attention from our two highly experienced tutors, in the relaxing setting of our idyllic island.

Our spinning courses are taught by Gill Best and Beth Loft who, despite their obviously youthful good looks, can count almost 40 years of spinning experience between them.

Sanday Spinners’ courses are normally run in the comfortable setting of the Ayre’s Rock conservatory. A maximum of four participants* ensures that all beginners receive plenty of individual attention.


The course fee includes tuition on two afternoons,** course hand-outs, use of spinning wheels during the course and after hours, aftercare support via the Internet, and a quantity of Sanday fleece to take home to practise with. Light refreshments are provided by our hosts at Ayre’s Rock and are included in the course fee.

Sneak peek:

Take a look at our gallery of photographs from a previous course offering.

What is included

The course offers everything that a beginner needs to know:

  • Introduction to fleece: choosing a good fleece and sorting the fibre, cleaning
  • Reasons for and principles of drafting and spinning
  • Drop spindling
  • Introduction to the spinning wheel
  • Hands on spinning with a wheel
  • Plying, including Navajo plying
  • Skeining with a niddy noddy

Residents may opt for an additional session in introductory dyeing or hand knitting with handspun yarns, and there is potential for visitors staying longer than two days to visit the neighbouring island of North Ronaldsay and its famous seaweed-eating sheep.

Course Fee:
£100 per person

Course Dates:
None scheduled at present. Please contact us as dates may be available by negotiation.

Accommodation: Ayre’s Rocktariff details here

For the non-spinner, Sanday has a wealth of wildlife and archaeology to offer. Visit the Sanday Tourism Association’s website, and the community site – for information.


* For groups booking together, we can be flexible about the maximum number of participants. Fees will be negotiated accordingly and please note that for bookings of 6 to 8 persons, the self-catering rooms at Ayre’s Rock offer a block booking rate discount of  £50 per night (when available.)

** It may be possible to rearrange afternoon 2 to the morning, if travel arrangements necessitate and all partcipants are in agreement.