The Signature of Vikings on Fær Øer Islands

kalsoy_faroe_islandsIf you fancy an ocean-going yacht cruise to a group of lonely islands a mere 320 kilometres (200 miles) north of Scotland, then the Fær Øer Islands are your choice. They are a similar distance from Norway and Iceland, in the heart of the triangle these three countries form. The islands have a distinctly Danish character: If you have visited Denmark then the Fær Øer capital of Tórshavn may seem like home.

But Expect a Rugged Welcome

Tall, rocky cliffs and steep slopes confront us as we sail past rugged terrain with a few low mountain peaks. A subpolar oceanic climate assures us of cool cloudy weather with good winds throughout the year. The approximately 40,000 islanders have deep roots in Nordic Viking culture, with perhaps some genes passed down the line from earlier Scottish hermits.

An Equally Robust Fauna and Flora

There are no native trees growing on the Fær Øer Islands. The vegetation is mainly wildflowers, grass and heather, with arctic-alpine plants, lichens and moss appearing at higher altitudes. There is an abundance of land and sea birds. Whales and seals are a common sight. However, the ponies, cows, sheep, mountain hare, as well as brown rats, house mice and feral sheep arrived with human settlers.

There are super hiking trails to follow among the low mountains. These help us recover our ‘land legs’ after being at sea for a while. For shopping therapy, the islanders are famous for their hand-knitted scarves, gloves and jumpers. These come in handy if sailing on to colder climes.

A Pleasant Day in the Fær Øer Capital, Tórshavn

Half the island population lives in the Viking capital dating from twelve centuries ago. The harbour town is a vibrant place with a lively waterfront where restaurants serve great coffee and cinnamon cakes, and more substantial meals if need be. The historic downtown area and shops are an easy stroll through narrow lanes. All aboard, as we prepare to catch the next tide!