Alone on Mykines // Faroe Islands // RW1

Alone on Mykines // Faroe Islands // RW1

Alone on Mykines // Faroe Islands // RW1

Alone on Mykines // Faroe Islands // RW1

The streets that winded gently up the hill away from the helicopter landing pad were deserted, just a few wisps of smoke betraying inhabitants inside. Only a handful of people lived on the island over winter and the strong winds blowing in across the Atlantic suggested how harsh it could become on this island, the western most point of the Faroes.

The campsite, by the river that ran through Mykines village, was just a few patches of flat boggy land that overlooked the village and the cliffs beyond. It was a stunning spot where all comings and goings could be seen giving the feeling of belonging to the village. It was two days before the helicopter would be back again and only if the weather held.

‘You’re the only tourist on the island so I was told to tell you about the shop. It’s closed for winter but if there’s any kind of emergency the old lady in the brown house over there has a key for the shop.’

It was a friendly welcome and a reminder that the Faroe Islands really shuts down over winter. As I bedded down for the night, snug in a down sleeping bag, I thought how amazing it was to be ‘alone’ on the island. The camping spot was unsheltered from the gusts and the tent swung backwards and forwards violently through the night, occasionally bending almost to touch my face. As it a lightweight mountain tent that could take a battering, sleep finally came.

The streets that winded gently up the hill away from the helicopter landing pad were deserted, just a few wisps of smoke betraying inhabitants inside. Only a handful of people lived on the island over winter and the strong winds blowing in across the Atlantic suggested how harsh it could become on this island, the western most point of the Faroes.

The campsite, by the river that ran through Mykines village, was just a few patches of flat boggy land that overlooked the village and the cliffs beyond. It was a stunning spot where all comings and goings could be seen giving the feeling of belonging to the village. It was two days before the helicopter would be back again and only if the weather held.

‘You’re the only tourist on the island so I was told to tell you about the shop. It’s closed for winter but if there’s any kind of emergency the old lady in the brown house over there has a key for the shop.’

It was a friendly welcome and a reminder that the Faroe Islands really shuts down over winter. As I bedded down for the night, snug in a down sleeping bag, I thought how amazing it was to be ‘alone’ on the island. The camping spot was unsheltered from the gusts and the tent swung backwards and forwards violently through the night, occasionally bending almost to touch my face. As it a lightweight mountain tent that could take a battering, sleep finally came.

Mykines3
Mykines3

The next day was calmer and an opportunity to get out to where the gannets nested and the lighthouse lay – one of the most iconic spots in the Faroes. The path over to Mykineshólmur was along a narrow coastal path, edged at times into the cliff-face and connected to the main island by a suspension bridge over a deep gorge. A faded sign proclaimed the path closed though being alone on the island allowed for a pragmatic check – it’s a small island and there was no wish to limit what could be explored. The nesting birds were away from the path and the puffin colony had already left, leaving the way open. The gannet colony out on cliff ledges was a ballet of birds swooping overhead and along the sheer cliffs, catching the wind and soaring far out to sea. A place for gazing out across the ocean deep in thoughts.

That afternoon was spent exploring the other side of the island hoping to reach the summit of Knúkur and down into the far valley beyond. Thick fog on the upper slopes severely limited visibility so the old farming fields and stone huts were wandered among. Many had long lost their turf covered roofs, having caved in, leaving thick stone walls for the sheep to shelter behind. It was a strikingly beautiful, windswept landscape which ended in sheer cliffs down to the crashing waves far below, birds flying along the cliff faces. It was easy to imagine the settlers of old trying to etch a life in these abandoned fields, holed up in the village below when the storms came in. Being alone in an environment can really bring a place and imagination to life.

People suddenly appeared seemingly out of nowhere just minutes before the helicopter arrived on the final day. A group of religious Faroese men and women in robes would accompany me on the ride back. Mykines is a special and magical place and it seemed fitting to be opposite a man with a long, thick grey beard, wearing a heavy robe and leather sandals.

The next day was calmer and an opportunity to get out to where the gannets nested and the lighthouse lay – one of the most iconic spots in the Faroes. The path over to Mykineshólmur was along a narrow coastal path, edged at times into the cliff-face and connected to the main island by a suspension bridge over a deep gorge. A faded sign proclaimed the path closed though being alone on the island allowed for a pragmatic check – it’s a small island and there was no wish to limit what could be explored. The nesting birds were away from the path and the puffin colony had already left, leaving the way open. The gannet colony out on cliff ledges was a ballet of birds swooping overhead and along the sheer cliffs, catching the wind and soaring far out to sea. A place for gazing out across the ocean deep in thoughts.

That afternoon was spent exploring the other side of the island hoping to reach the summit of Knúkur and down into the far valley beyond. Thick fog on the upper slopes severely limited visibility so the old farming fields and stone huts were wandered among. Many had long lost their turf covered roofs, having caved in, leaving thick stone walls for the sheep to shelter behind. It was a strikingly beautiful, windswept landscape which ended in sheer cliffs down to the crashing waves far below, birds flying along the cliff faces. It was easy to imagine the settlers of old trying to etch a life in these abandoned fields, holed up in the village below when the storms came in. Being alone in an environment can really bring a place and imagination to life.

People suddenly appeared seemingly out of nowhere just minutes before the helicopter arrived on the final day. A group of religious Faroese men and women in robes would accompany me on the ride back. Mykines is a special and magical place and it seemed fitting to be opposite a man with a long, thick grey beard, wearing a heavy robe and leather sandals.

  • Alone On Mykines // Faroe Islands // RW1
  • French Mountain-Fearing // RW2
  • Arctic Circle Trail // Greenland // RW1
  • From Them, Came Us // Namibia // RW3
  • Lost in Hope // England // RW4
  • Alone On Mykines // Faroe Islands // RW1
  • French Mountain-Fearing // RW2
  • Arctic Circle Trail // Greenland // RW1
  • From Them, Came Us // Namibia // RW3
  • Lost in Hope // England // RW4