DAY 7 – FRIDAY JULY 1, 2016
We are taking the ferry from Skopun back to Gamlarætt on Streymoy
Mikladalur, because this is where we will find Kópakonan, the Selkie.
at 10:30 am. And given that you cannot reserve a place on the ferry,
A fascinating 3 m tall bronze sculpture created by Hans Pauli Olsen.
which is relatively small, well, we just park our car in the line, don our
It does bring to mind our own Little Mermaid in Copenhagen. And,
raincoats and explore Skopun village.
of course, a heart-breaking legend is tied to the Selkie. Every year on Twelfth Night the seals swim up to the beach in Mikladalur, cast off
High above the village, almost like a beacon to sailors, a gigantic blue
their skins, transform into people, disappear into a big cave and cele-
letterbox looms. It is 7.42 m high and 4.45 m wide. It is so massive
brate. At sunrise they put their sealskins back on and head out to sea.
that, at the time of construction, it was listed in the Guinness Book of
Once, a young man from Mikladalur snuck down to watch the seals
Records as the biggest in the world.
arrive and fell in love with a beautiful selkie. He stole her skin, so she had to follow him home. He forced her to marry him and they had
We followed the gravel road out of town and continued along the trod-
several children together. He would keep the sealskin carefully locked
den path, high over the grassy mountaintop. We were rewarded with
in a chest and take the key out fishing every day. One day, however,
views of Streymoy, Koltur and Hestur and Trøllhøvdi (Troll’s Head) a
he forgot to bring it and announced to the other fishermen, ‘today I
rocky ocean outcrop off the coast. The outcrop is said to be a troll’s
shall loose my wife.’ And right he was. When he got home the seal-
head. He, sadly, lost it trying to connect the islands of Nólsoy and
skin was gone. He was deeply distraught, took his children by the
Sandoy. Misfortune would have it that he got his own neck caught in
hand, went down to the cliffs and scouted across the sea. Just off
the rope and when he tightened it, his head fell off. There are plenty
the coast by the cave a seal was observing them with mournful eyes.
such amusing legends linked to places dotted around the Faroes. In order to reach Norðoyggjar – the North Islands – we drive through
A fantastical myth and stunning statue, and fascinating hues on the
the subsea tunnel Norðoyatunnilin, which was inaugurated in 2006. It
mountain facing The Selkie. Walking right under the cliffs, because
was blasted 150 m under the sea and is 6.2 km long. The cost, a minor
you can get very close to them, feels like stepping into a saga.
detail, amounted to DKK 395 million. It is pretty wondrous to drive so deep inside the bedrock under the sea!
We reach the island’s northeastern village, Trøllanes, with its beautiful view of the steep cliff faces on the neighbouring islands. There
On Borðoy island we stayed at Hotel Klaksvík. A former seafarers’
are only a handful of houses here and very few people. But some
hostel. It is clean and cosy. We get a diminutive room with a beautiful
local has a nose for business; a big homemade sign with large letters
view over the city and harbour against the backdrop of the mountains.
entices people to ‘Come and buy,’ who might be behind this? It is a
Klaksvik is the second largest city in the Faroes with 4,605 inhabi-
schoolgirl selling coffee and home baked cake. And this is not even
the only ‘shop’ in Trøllanes. There is a little kiosk too. It was originaly a workman’s shed used during the construction of the tunnels. When
The Northern Islands are a group of six islands in the North East of
they were all completed in 1986, one of the entrepreneuring women
the Faroes. Three can be reached via bridges and the last three by
in the village took over the shed and now sells sweets to satisfy your
boat or helicopter. We immediately embark on an adventure with the
cravings. All you have to do is ring the bell when you have selected
ferry Sam to Kalsoy island where we drive through four long, very nar-
your purchase. We naturally also had to support this local initiative.
row and very dark tunnels. They, of course, have only a single track, just to add to the excitement! Fortunately there are very clear rules for
The trip home is just as exciting through the narrow tunnels that of-
who has to give way using the lay-bys that are carved into the tunnel
ten open out to a sharp hairpin turn as soon as you reach the light.
wall for that very purpose.
All these tunnels and the island’s characteristic shape have earned it the nickname ‘the recorder,’ it is plain to see why from neighbouring
Kalsoy is only 18 km long and 1 to 3 km wide, but from North to South
it is connected via four tunnels. We take a little detour to the village 14
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