The Faroes Archipelago

Julia Jones’ first visit to the Faroe Islands last Autumn brought wonderful walking opportunities and the promise of some exciting journeys in the future.

The Faroes, lying roughly half-way between Scotland and my usual destination of Iceland, have been on my list for some time. Even more appealing is that fact that they are a collection of 18 small, rugged islands and much better connected to each other than I’d imagined. The landscapes, coast and geology are all stunning. The quirky ‘island’ culture is fascinating, and the Faroese community is doing everything possible to make the inevitable growth in tourism to these special islands
sustainable.

After a few days spent with a small group visiting beautiful self-catering cottages and guesthouses, eating in the homes of local people and taking part in community potato digging, it was a treat to get out into the fresh air to see more of the landscapes. My interest in seeing more of the Faroes, particularly on foot, grew even more after joining a guided hike and discovering how unspoilt and steeped in history and nature these islands are.

We took a small boat trip on a ribbon lake that ends as a waterfall plunges
over into the sea; another day we set off by sea – not just to get close to a
magnificent rock arch, but to go through it. From there we had stunning views of another beautiful waterfall, Gasadalur.

Turning to walking, we spent a fascinating day in Torshavn, the capital city. With a bustling harbour, historic old town and plenty of winding streets, small parks and good cafés, this was a delightful way to spend most of a day. On my last day I joined a hike from Torshavn over moorland to the ancient ruins at Kirkjubour, an impressive cathedral dating from about 1300, and an earlier church, St Olav’s, which is still in use, yet with remains from the 12th Century. The bishopric here is connected to, amongst others, Kirkwall in Scotland and Skalholt in Iceland. A Viking runestone has also been discovered here. To finish, we enjoyed wonderful tea and cake in the beautifully restored 9th Century turf house nearby, which is part of a working farm. Needless to say, I am going back for more!

1st Weekend Walking Group

Walking with me does not have to include the Faroes. Nor does it have to involve long arduous hikes, although I am still doing them! I’ve set up a group for my current walk-and-talk friends and for any others who would like to join me. We walk about 5 miles, locally, on the first weekend of each month – either Saturday or Sunday – starting at 11:00 or 14:00. We’ve most recently walked in Bushy Park, Ashtead Common and on Esher Common, and a pub or café is always included in the plan.

Find out more: For dates and information please contact me by
email: julia@icelandtraveller.co.uk

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