Exploring the Faroe Islands
Trip Start Sep 11, 2010
150Trip End Sep 11, 2011
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The scenery was stunning; the islands are of volcanic basalt (no active hotspots remain), with towering cliffs and 'stepped’ waterfalls falling from their dizzy heights. Sheep of various breeds and colours abound, interspersed with some cattle and horses
As the road wound up above the Kaldback Fjord, we stopped at a vista point to get great views of the Island of Nolsoy to the south east – allegedly the island has the world’s largest colony of Storm Petrels. As we continued, there were views of Koltur Island to the south west, dominated by the steep mountain Kolturshamar rising to 477m. Then off to Kollafjordur, one the larger villages, surround by majestic Skaelingsfjall Mountain (used to be considered the highest mountain in the Faroe Islands but this honour now belongs to Slaettaratindur soaring to 882m situated on Eysturoy). Through Hosvik and Vid-Air to Hvalvik, where we stopped to take photos of the 1828 black and white church with its grass roof. This is the oldest of the Faroese wooden churches and is exceptionally well-preserved.
The next stop was a little further along the road at a whale-processing site. Since the Government has curtailed the culling of whales, the equipment and huge drums sit rusting by the side of the sloped jetty where a whale would have been winched up from the fjord to be ‘processed’
Pushing on, the town of Toftir was our next stopping point to visit a woollen shop; soft and beautifully knitted garments, shawls, scarves, hats and gloves, as well as skeins and balls of locally-produced wool for purchase - a knitter’s paradise! A ‘canteen-style’ restaurant situated above an office complex and overlooking the little harbour, provided the setting for our tasty fish lunch.
On the road again, we headed for Leirvik, where recent excavations at Toftanes have revealed the remnants of a 1000 year-old Viking farm; it is reported that the inhabitants of the area were wiped out by the Black Plague. To access the Island of Bordoy, there is a 5.6km tunnel 150m under the Leirvikfjordur dividing the islands; on exiting the tunnel, there were stunning views across to the southern ends of the Islands of Kunoy and Kalsoy
A dash back to the car as the rain was quite heavy as we exited the Church, Ossur drove to a vantage point for views of central Kunoy (the highest of all the islands by average height), and then we were off to Aranfjordur and onto Nordepil to drive across the causeway linking Bordoy and Vidoy Islands. Turning north at Hvannasund, we headed to Vidareidi, the most northerly village of the Faroe Islands
It was time to make tracks back to Torshavn. We broke the journey at Klaksvik to visit the Northern Museum (founded in 1968) which is situated in an old merchant house built in 1838, as a branch to the Danish monopoly trade in Torshavn. The monopoly was abolished in 1856 but the house stands untouched. There are two rooms housing exhibits: the first room has all sorts of tools (including an unusual cat skin inflated to form a fishing line float), everyday items and photos; the second, called The Chemistry, was used as a draper’s store dating from 1919, which in 1932 became a chemistry and was in use until 1961. The room has stayed intact including all the bottles and chemistry tools and the 17 small delightful paintings decorating the rafters depicting views of the building and its surroundings
The remainder of the drive back to Torshavn passed quickly and it was soon time to say thanks and goodbye to Ossur, and to wish David and Diane bon voyage for their journey back to the UK and then onto New Zealand where they now reside. It had been a very interesting day exploring the Faroe Islands and we had only just seen a small fraction of what has been called "the world’s most appealing islands". Another place to add to the ‘revisit’ list!
(We needed to consult the Tourist Guide and various pamphlets to aide our memories and provide the details for this blog entry!!)