After a night back in Iceland, reunited with the passengers left behind when we went to Greenland (Oh, what they had missed!), it was time to fly off to the last of our Viking Islands – The Faroe Islands. We took off around lunch time in a BAe 146 (OY RCD), a Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) type aircraft. This meant that the runway on the islands was not going to be long enough for regular aircraft.
Again from my ‘seat with a view’, high above land, I was able to take my first look at these small islands. And what I saw was GREEN! A change of colour. Not the white ice and bare brown mountains of Greenland – but lots of green.
The Faroe Islands, lie north west of Scotland in the North Atlantic at a latitude of 62°00’N. Lying in the heart of the Gulf Stream, they are half way between Iceland and Norway. This archipelago of eighteen islands forms roughly the shape of an arrowhead, 113km long and 75km wide.
An autonomous region of Denmark since 1948, the 50,000 Faroese people have their own flag, parliament and official national language. With so much coastline and not much arable land, the economy is almost entirely dependent on fishing and fish farming. Some petroleum products have been found nearby and this gives these islands some hope for sustained economic prosperity.
The islands have towering cliffs and are quite rugged although the highest peak is just 882m above sea level. The climate is categorised as Maritime Subarctic and is greatly influenced by the warm North Atlantic Current. Winters are mild considering their location with a mean temperature of 3-4℃, while summers are cool with a mean temperature of 9.5-10-5℃. The islands are windy and cloudy with over 260 rainy days a year. Sunny days are rare.
I liked these islands immediately, with their wonderful, rugged cliffs, clearly visible as the plane approached the airport and no less impressive, later on, up much closer by boat. This was a very scenic approach to the airport.
A village, straggled out along the coast below us. By far the greatest number of Faroese now live in Greater Tórshavn, the capital of the islands – the rest of the population live in scattered, tiny villages like this one.
The island houses are very colourful indeed. It appears that no-one would dare paint their house the same colour as their neighbour’s. And the style of church is quite distinctive in its architecture – and again colourful.
Our plane touched down at Sorevag on a small island that has enough flat land for a short runway. There, we were met by a representative of Arctic Adventures, our Danish travel agents. We were then transferred by road through a tunnel to Streymoy Island and the capital Torshavn. Our home away from home for the next three nights was the Hotel Foroyar. Our final Viking Islands adventure had begun. D
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