Fog with a chance of hiking in the Faroe Islands
Written by Allison Green, who runs the blog Eternal Arrival.
There’s an old Yiddish proverb that I think the Faroese would appreciate: We plan, God laughs.
Isolated in a windswept pocket of the Northern Atlantic over 150 miles from any neighbour, Faroe Islanders know the caprices of climate better than anyone. Fog drops in as unexpectedly as a neighbour. Sunny days are the exception, not the rule. Every activity has an invisible asterisk, knowing that the whims of the weather prevail.
And yet despite all odds, the Faroese have inhabited these islands for over a thousand years. They’re people of proud tradition, whose cuisine and culture are influenced by the struggle to take root in one of the world’s least forgiving soils. They’re certainly not fazed by a little bad weather.
For a first-time visitor to the Faroe Islands, seeing the chance that comes with every day comes as a surprise. It’s a place to put down the phone with its weather app and look at the sky, where layers are peeled on and off throughout the day, and where even the best-laid plans are met with a chuckle.
A FIRST FORAY WITH FOG
We landed on a suspiciously clear day. We picked up the rental car and drove immediately towards Gásadalur. The Faroe Islands laid themselves out, recently refreshed a brilliant emerald-green by the summer rains, dotted with bright houses popping against the green backdrop.
My friend had warned me that on her past trip to the Faroes, Gásadalur refused to fall daintily in the ocean; instead, it was kicked up wildly by the gusting wind, blowing upward in bursts. Yet as we approached Gásadalur, we watched as it flowed the turquoise water below, as if posing for us. We obliged, snapping the first hundred or so photos of the thousands that would clutter our memory cards in the coming days.
Afterwards, we wound our way through the curving roads when fog first approached in curls around our car, wiping away the sea. Undeterred, we parked where we knew we could photograph Drangarnir, the steep-roofed sea stack where the incessant seas had punched a hole through the middle, making a tiny window. Two sheep chewed their grass, unperturbed by the fog enveloping them, as we waited impatiently for the fog to clear. It didn’t.
Losing the battle of the wills, we drove onwards towards our next stop, Lake Sørvágsvatn, not wanting to burn up the rest of our day.