Being a photographer with an interest in all places wild and remote, I wrongly assume that everyone knows of the Faroe Islands? Apparently not, when mentioning my trip many people asked where it is, often asking if it is anywhere near Egypt? Well, I guess that could be an easy assumption to make! The Faroe Islands position actually lies in the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between the Shetlands Isles and Iceland (I visited the Shetlands earlier this year too, as part of my ‘Northern Isles’ project). The Faroe Islands comprises of 18 volcanic islands, a self-governing archipelago and part of the Kingdom of Denmark. With a population of around 49,000, infrastructure is good, connected by a series of very impressive tunnels, as well as ferries, causeways and bridges. According to one of my trusted marketing friends, the Faroes is the number one destination on Instagram! Something difficult to comprehend and maybe all those hipsters adding to the growing popularity of these isles.
Departing from Edinburgh airport we endured an easy flight of about an hour, arriving at Vágar airport, the most stress-free airport I've ever encountered. Stepping off the plane on a sunny day, the air fresh and clean. Our accommodation was situated in the small village of Kollafjörður, on the largest of the Faroe Isles, Stremoy. which proved to be a great base
Day 1 - On the first morning we climbed up a waterfall at the back of our house with a slight hangover, well you have to cut loose a little on the first night and what better way to rejuvenate than underneath one of the Faroes many waterfalls! Mid-afternoon we popped to the very pretty capital, Torshavn. Spending the day settling into the Faroese capital, visiting the tourist information etc, before returning to our house and finalising which locations to visit. The weather was atrocious outside, lashing with rain and windy.
Day 2 – Waking up to bright skies, we’d decided to visit the little village of Saksun on the northwest coast of Stremoy for our first outing, around half an hour’s drive from where we were based, roads quickly turn very narrow, occasionally quite precipitous but with plenty of passing places. Driving down into the valley where Saksun is situated is incredibly beautiful, the focal point being the church set in spectacular surroundings. Around ten minutes after setting up for the shot, a farmer drove past in his tractor, he was ‘muck spreading’ as we call it here in Yorkshire, in a manner that seemed to be aiming at us! With the fertilizer falling a few feet from our tripods. Said farmer then jumped down from his tractor and strode over to us looking a tad angry, he then demanded 200DKK (around £24) for trespassing. We had stepped over a small fence and walked about fifty metres behind the church, apparently, there were signs warning of trespassing, but we saw them after this confrontation. It's a fair cop I thought and handed over the 200DKK, the farmer then seemed to lighten up a bit! His words something along the lines of "There are no wild places on the Faroe Islands, everywhere you go, you are trespassing!". This is, of course, untrue, there are plenty of amazing locations that are accessible to all, with no such problems, although the farmer did mention that there is much friction between the farmers and the Faroese tourist board. I must admit that in all the research I'd done, I'd not heard any such stories regarding access, but then most of my info came from the 'Visit Faroe Islands' tourist board who obviously are not going to share such information. Our confrontation with the farmer was fairly tame looking back, however, we had heard stories from fellow travellers that were much more concerning. One example is a couple of chaps hiding in a cave for 45 minutes as a farmer had chased them with a gun, they were headed for the classic Faroese destination of Drangarnir, which looks out through a spectacular sea arch towards the island of Tindhólmur. This particular location was high on the list of places that we wanted to photograph, but access to this location seems to have become somewhat prohibited quite recently, requiring a guide, the guide then handing over a few DKK to the landowner.