THE PEOPLE, THE LAND AND THE SEA.
The Faroe Islands was on my discover page. Instagram suggested that I follow the VisitFaroeIslands account and I did. Mesmerized by the sweeping valleys, rocky cliffs and colourful small towns boarding the shore- I knew I had to plan a trip and like most places I've ventured to, I did. 3 months after, I found myself on a plane out of Edinburgh to Tórshavn.
With 3 hours of turbulance and a surprise landing in a Norwegian town I will never know the name of, it was a great start to a solo road trip. When we finally landed the next day, I ran through the rain to my rental car and drove slowly to my hostel. Even the drive to my hostel started the trip- sheep sitting on the road, sunlight reflecting off lakes surrounded by rigid rock and roads winding around mountains that, if you fall, could drop you 100's of metres down.
The Iceland Ring Road is relatively flat- the Faroes are something else altogether. You go from sea level to subterranean tunnels to connect to other islands and finish off through a one lane dark tunnel half way up a mountain. Yes, a one lane tunnel through a mountain, most being the only roads connecting small towns to the rest of the Faroes. This means one of two things; you have to play chicken with the car coming down the same narrow dark tunnel before you veer off to the extremely small areas to pull over in and if there is ever a landslide, it will be a few days before you can get back. However, these tunnels often open up to the most beautiful of places.
From hiking up mountains to between them on bare beaches during low tide, it is apparent how small you are. From lakes hovering above sea level beside ocean cliffs to waterfalls falling into the ocean, you can be the only person to take it all in at that moment. From sheep outnumbering the Faroese to puffins resting on cliffs you can't reach, you are surrounded by beauty.
It's those unique parts of the Faroes that are rare to the rest of the world-how apparent it is that nature is larger than us. The Faroese have built everything around the mountains, oceans, rivers and valleys. They don't compromise natural beauty for a larger city. They don't put a road straight through a mountain if they can trace it around instead & that's what I wanted to capture.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS HAPPEN IN THE MOST UNEXPECTED OF PLACES.
Something I wrote on my final day in the Faroes:
"Yesterday I explored the east coast of the islands. I started at the furthest point and worked my way back to the city centre. As I was tracing the coastline of each islands, entering multiple one lane tunnels that are dark and daunting- I exited and saw a sign for Mulí. Abandoned by its residents in 1994, this tiny tiny village has no paved road, only a 6km single lane rocky path taking you straight there.
When I arrived, I was surprised to find a car in the front entrance. I parked about a 100m from the town's entrance and began to walk. As I neared the entrance, Simun came up to say hello. Simun comes here everyday (mostly with his father) to take care of the property and his 174 sheep. A carpenter by trade, he calls himself a sheep herder by default. His parents used to live in this village and so he tends to the house. This village was once a place that flourished off fishing, selling wool and sheep meat and homemade goods. However, once this no longer was a sustainable income for the families- one by one they had to leave.
When I came across Simun, he was preparing for the annual sheep slaughter where any above the current number of 174 are slaughtered for meat and wool. I asked Simun how he chooses which sheep are killed. It is either the older ones where their teeth have begun to curve and space or the ewes (female sheep) that have given birth more than twice. In this village, they have multiple "chitles" (I am hoping someone will correct my spelling of this). These are the old stone structures with turf roofs. They are used as a traditional way of storing meats, drying out and processing the wools as well. Not only is this keeping in tradition but it is all done by Simun himself and he has three of them.
It is such a desolate yet peaceful place. A natural waterfall and river flow into the village and pass on into the Atlantic Ocean just past the last house. All the houses have kettles still in the kitchens, curtains hung and houses look as if the residents just left for a day's work."