Rain and Tunnels on the Faroe Islands

May 9, 2017

Early summer, when the rest of the northern hemisphere is enjoying sunshine and warmth we had the hair-brain idea to go and explore the Faroe Islands. This little collection of islands lie between  Norway and Iceland,  160 miles north of Orkney.  A very empty Atlantic Airways flight resulted in the drinks trolley being parked between the 9 passengers with instructions to ‘help yourselves’.  Don’t mind if I do!

Fog and Mist

As we stepped off the plane the remote nature of the islands hit us square on.  Fog and swirling mist combined with lush green fields and swollen waterfalls along the roadside and made us realise that these really are remote islands.  With such a choice of waterfalls we almost became waterfall snobs.  We were only interested if they were particular large and impressive.  The drive from the airport was wild and an instant attack on the sense.  It was hard to believe that a few hours earlier we had been in sunshine in Aberdeen.

Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands

The mist and fog visited throughout our stay.  I can truly say this is the only place on the planet where I have sat in a car on a hill, with the wind howling so hard that we were scared to drive.  At the same time we were able to sit and watch the puddles blowing up the hill past the car.

Tunnels and Roads

More terror followed with the trail of tunnels across the islands.  I really am not a good left hand driver.  Add to this the combination of single track tunnels with no lights and passing places and it is a real recipe for panic.

Faroe Islands

Oh and did I mention the lorries coming head on through the tunnels. Close my eyes and hope was the only option at times.  I also managed to close my eyes a few times on narrow roads with passing places.  Big lorries and even bigger sheer drops, I really am a road wimp.

Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands

Vestmanna Bird Cliffs

While the weather was clear we did manage a boat trip out around the bird cliffs near Vestmanna.

Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands

Puffins and guillemots were everywhere and despite the rough weather the birds were amazing through the fog.   The noise filled the sky and it felt like we were the visitors on their patch.   Apparently guillemot and puffin don’t taste too bad either,  although the after effects of a bird feast is not great for others in the vicinity of the eater!  I really couldn’t bring myself to join in the feast and stuck to goat, a far better farmed option. We were reassured that the birds were Faroese birds and not Icelandic.  However no-one could tell us how they differentiated between the  two amongst the thousands nesting on these cliffs.  I don’t want to get into an ethical debate about the Faroese practices of hunting, we made our decisions and immersed ourselves in the culture as far as our principles allowed.

Tórshavn and Kirkjubøur

The capital of Tórshavn is relaxed and calm.  Located on Streymoy one of the larger islands and easy to walk around.  The modern city is similar to anywhere else in Europe but the quieter older part of Tinganes has an air of the past.  The turf roofed wooden buildings merge with the surrounding water.  Some are over 500 years old and the Parliament building is the centre of this area.

Faroe Islands

Faroes, Island

Faroe Islands

Tórshavn is located in the centre of the islands so makes a great spot to start exploring the surrounding islands.  Further south on Streymoy is Kirkjubøur.  With the picturesque St Olav’s Church and ruins of St Magnus Cathedral this remote village is full of history.

Faroes, Island, black and white, church, cliff, sea

St Olav’s Church in the small hamlet of Kirkjubøur

Faroes, Island

Roykstovan, the oldest inhabited house in the world in the village of Kirkjubøur

Faroes, Island

Door on Roykstovan, the oldest inhabited house in the world, dating front he 11th Century. In the centre of the village of Kirkjubøur

Faroe Island Planning

We stayed at Hotel Føroyar in Tórshavn, a brilliant base for the weekend and booked flights, hire car and hotel through Discover the World which worked perfectly.  We adventured there in early summer and the long evenings meant that exploring was easy, but the weather was chilly and did I mention foggy?!

Faroe Islands The weather is so unpredictable that it is a gamble whenever you go.  Just be prepared for anything the weather decides to throw at you.  The people are lovely although some places we visited had very little English spoken.  However we got the message across well and never had any nasty surprises whilst eating out.

Photography

All images were taken using film and scanned.  This trip was intentionally taken with just a film camera and the conditions proved tough without the luxury of digital.  These islands are a photographic dream.  It has the unusual combination of stunning landscapes and lots of great wildlife encounters.  Be prepared to adapt a plan minute by minute.  The weather changes rapidly and so having options each day is essential.  The islands are easy to explore and there are unexpected surprises around every corner.  Take your time, stop often and work around the light.

Faroe Islands

Faroes, Island, black and white, church

Kunoy church on the island of Kunoy

Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands

Faroe, Island, black and white, sea

Koltur from Streymoy

Faroe, Island, cliff, clouds, sea

Towards Vestamanna from Syøradalur

Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands Faroe Islands Faroe Islands

Faroe, Island, church, red

This church was built in 1917 and is well known for it’s runestone which is believed to date from the 13th century

Faroe, Island, cloud, sea, sea stack

Risin go Kellingin near the village of Eiði. The two sea stacks are 48 and 81m high.

Faroe Islands

4 comments

  1. Comment by Tots2travel

    Tots2travel Reply May 12, 2017 at 7:50 am

    Fantastic introduction for me. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Comment by Suzanne

      Suzanne Reply May 12, 2017 at 8:21 am

      You are welcome! Look forward to seeing your posts!!

  2. Comment by Mary Mayfield

    Mary Mayfield Reply May 12, 2017 at 9:23 am

    What wonderful waterfalls! The whole place looks fascinating but I could do without the tunnels!

    • Comment by Suzanne

      Suzanne Reply May 12, 2017 at 10:56 am

      Me too! Longest was over 3km of blackness!!

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