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Cairns

Our nature is what attracts most visitors and artists to the Faroe Islands. The raw beauty, the sometimes serene peacefulness, the magnetic pull of the ocean, shape the disposition of the Faroese people. But nature also demands a boundless respect for its power. We know that although we can pretend that we have mastered nature, it may easily prove us wrong. Walking over the mountains from one village to the next was a regular occurrence for our predecessors. However their trail would disappear, so there was no easily discernible footpath across the mountains to guide others. They therefore built cairns, visible rock pyramids en route, sturdy and weather-resistant, to help lead travellers the most sensible way. Every traveller would make sure that the cairns were kept in good shape. Still today, we ask our visitors to respect and value the work of our forebears, as their good sense and hard work still today guides hikers from one village to the next.

The cairn used to be the only man-made object in the mountain, like yesteryear’s electricity and telephone poles connecting people and leading them safely over the mountains. When a rock had fallen off a cairn, it would be put back into place by the next traveller with a prayer or with the Trinitarian formula. If you do not see the next cairn due to fog or rain, it is better to stay put.

Our nature is what attracts most visitors and artists to the Faroe Islands. The raw beauty, the sometimes serene peacefulness, the magnetic pull of the ocean, shape the disposition of the Faroese people. But nature also demands a boundless respect for its power. We know that although we can pretend that we have mastered nature, it may easily prove us wrong. Walking over the mountains from one village to the next was a regular occurrence for our predecessors. However their trail would disappear, so there was no easily discernible footpath across the mountains to guide others. They therefore built cairns, visible rock pyramids en route, sturdy and weather-resistant, to help lead travellers the most sensible way. Every traveller would make sure that the cairns were kept in good shape. Still today, we ask our visitors to respect and value the work of our forebears, as their good sense and hard work still today guides hikers from one village to the next.

The cairn used to be the only man-made object in the mountain, like yesteryear’s electricity and telephone poles connecting people and leading them safely over the mountains. When a rock had fallen off a cairn, it would be put back into place by the next traveller with a prayer or with the Trinitarian formula. If you do not see the next cairn due to fog or rain, it is better to stay put.

Other character traits in the Faroese identity