Cruise Arrivals


From Spanish assassination plot, to Sanday’s anarchist publishing empire

Stuart Christie in the office of Cienfuegos Press at Over the Water, Sanday, in 1980. (Photos: Stuart Christie Memorial Archive)

Did you know that Sanday was once home to “Britain’s most famous anarchist,” Stuart Christie?

If not, you’re in luck, because The Orcadian has spent months researching the man who was surely one of the most interesting characters to call Orkney home.

Moving to Sanday in the mid 1970s with his wife Brenda, the Christies raised a daughter, ran their publishing business, started Orkney’s very own anarchist magazine, and by all accounts had a good life.

However, excitement was never far away in the seven years they spent on the island.

After a media storm in 1980, Christie defended his publication of a controversial new book, which taught readers how to gather weapons without raising the eyebrows of police, how to ambush a military convoy, and how to make landmines — among many other unconventional skills.

“Should the county fall to the enemy within, or the enemy outside, ordinary people should have the ability and know-how to defend themselves,” the anarchist told The Orcadian.

As headline-grabbing as this story was, Christie was by far most famous for travelling to Spain in 1964, carrying a backpack laden with explosives — he was on a mission to aid the assassination of the fascist dictator General Francisco Franco.

To read the full story about the Christies’ time in Sanday, pick up last week’s edition of The Orcadian.