Vágur & World War II

Luli Noriega Pons

Day 10 of my travels with The Clipperton Project around the Faroe Islands.

Today we packed up our stuff in Tòrshavn and headed out on our journey to Vágur, where we would (eventually!) be meeting our boat.

Vágur is on the southernmost island of Suðuroy, which we travelled down to by ferry from Tòrshavn. The ride over was beautifully calm, and as we were on it for a couple of hours, I managed to get a good bit of journalling and design doodling done.

 

Unfortunately, when we arrived in Vágur, The Johanna wasn’t quite ready for us… so, it was another night in a hostel. It did give us some time to explore the town though…

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We came across this wonderful little museum which had a weird and wonderful collection of items and photographs from Vágur during World War II.

The Faroe Islands, Faroese ships and Faroese crew were of vast importance to Great Britain during World War II (1940-1945). Most of the British ships were in the early years of the war rebuilt to warships and for the same reason there were few British fishing vessels in operation. The demand for fish in Britain was large, and here the Faroese ships and crews came to play an important role.

Each week Faroese ships transported 100s of tonnes of fish to the British market. The fish was transported from Iceland and the Faroe Islands to Britain, mostly to harbourd in the north of Britain. All in all Faroese ships made 2.354 trip to Britain with 152.000 tonnes of fish to a value of 198 million Danish kroners.

The voyages through the battle zones in the North Atlantic did though have their high prize. During the years of World War II 205 Faroese men were casualties of war acts on the sea and 39 ships were lost. Of these 9 ships were from Vágur, of which 4 were lost with all hands. 27 men lost their lives with these ships, 14 from Vágur.

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Sadly there wasn’t much information about these, but I loved these photographs of a Scottish regiment that stayed here during World War II.

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These model boats were all made by the curator of the museum, Poul Niclassen, who spent years crafting these vessels that from Vágur that were used in the war, in his little home workshop.

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After the museum we wandered through the town a little more.

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Yup! that is a dried up fish head lying in the port!

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Dad! this sea mine photo is for you!!

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Planning our route with the Johanna! in our cosy little hostel.

Luli Noriega Pons

This sock was knitted by Lynne Reed on her travels around the Faroes!! photo by Nils Aksnes.

Nils Aksnes (Lynne Sock)

 

More to come soon!!

Stay tuned!

Chloe out.

 

Tòrshavn Fort & Anna Iachino

Lea Kannar (1)

Day 9 of my travels with The Clipperton Project around the Faroe Islands.

Today we were still in Tòrshavn and my day was very chilled out and soul-soothing.

I spent my morning in a lovely little cafe down by the port, sipping on a yummy marshmallow filled hot chocolate, eating sugary crepes, catching up with some loved ones via the internet, and updating my journal with scribblings and doodles.

It was just what I needed.

In the afternoon I went for a wander, and found myself at Skansin.

Skansin (literally: the jump) is a historic fortress in Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands.

Skansin is located on a hill beside the port of Tórshavn. The fort was built in 1580 by Magnus Heinason to protect against pirate raids of the town, after he himself was nearly caught up in one such raid. The fort was expanded considerably in 1780 and went through a series of rebuilds for many years afterwards. During the Second World War the fort served Britain as a military base. Two 5.5 inch guns date from the British occupation, standing along with many older Danish cannons.

One of the Faroese lighthouses, the Skansin Lighthouse (Skansin international lighthouse), towers over the fortress, pointing the way to the capital. The strategic location of the fort offers tourists picturesque views of Tórshavn port, surrounding landscape and views out towards Nólsoy island.

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I headed back to the hostel for a spot of dinner, then we wandered back into town to meet with Anna Iachino.

Anna Iachino ia an Italian lyricist/vocalist and poet, born on January 22nd, 1961. in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Her strength is in her animated storytelling,  she sings and raps and performs spoken word, over the suberb bass playing and well crafted compositions of husband, Faroese bass virtuoso, Arnold Ludvig, winner of the 2005 Atlantic Music Event’s, Best Bass player Award.

Together they lead the band, MonkeyRat and deliver an original and powerful expression, rooted in Funk, with a little Reggae, Retro, Urban, Soul and hints of Jazz and Punk.

(read more)

Anna was great. She talked to us for ages, about her life, her music, Faroese culture, the music scene on the islands – I could have listened to her stories for hours! – and then a few of us went with her to watch her husband’s band play in the local music venue.

I completely forgot to bring my camera to this, which is a shame, as they were fantastic, and I would’ve liked to have filmed a bit! but alas, ephemeral it shall stay…. just this one photo I pinched from Lea Kannar of the band!

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More to come soon…

Chloe out.

The Nordic House & a wander around Tòrshavn

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Day 8 of my travels with The Clipperton Project around the Faroe Islands.

Today we were still in Tòrshavn and my day was a bit annoying.

I woke up in a bad mood for no apparent reason, and it got worse as I messed up most of morning wandering to and from laundry services trying to acquire clean clothes!! A complete waste of a morning… but I made up for it.

I cheered myself up by wandering over to Norðurlandahúsið í Føroyum or The Nordic House… after I had finally washed my clothes!!!

The Nordic House was basically a culture venue, built using traditional Nordic design with a modern spin. It was beautiful. And at the moment housed a really interesting art exhibition.

The Summer Exhibition NÚ/NOW 3 June – 21 August
The Summer Exhibition 2016 lets young Faroese artists born after 1980 take centre stage. We showcase works by 26 young talented artists, each with their own approach to visual arts.

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I then wandered around the city for a little bit, doing a bit of shopping, and just seeing what I could see :)

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No. I did not draw this. Just was highly amused as I walked past!

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The Westward Ho.

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Surprise sculpture!!!

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I then settled into this beach to draw and gather up materials to make jewellery with.

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A bad start to my day turned beautiful with art and the sea shore.

More to come soon…

Chloe out.

Birgir Kruse & Tota Arnadottir

Birk

Day 7 of my travels with The Clipperton Project around the Faroe Islands.

Today we were still in Tòrshavn and we had two talks from two fascinating Faroese people.

The first: Birgir Kruse who has a great knowledge on all aspects of the islands, and writes a blog called Birk Blog, which, unfortunately for us, is written in Faroese, a language not currently translated by google :( But you should still pop on over for a nosey, as photographs speak all languages, and his are brilliant.

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Unfortunately the space we met him in was a coffee shop, although lovely, it was quite noisy, and as I was sitting quite far from him, I didn’t quite catch all that was being said… but… I’ll do my best to give you a quick run through of a few things I learned from the notes I scribbled down!

  • The Faroese language has only existed as a written language for about 130 years.
  • It’s thought that if the Faroe Islands had belonged to Scotland the language would’ve been replaced by something more akin to Gaelic, and Faroese would’ve died out a long time ago.
  • There is a way of speaking known as “sweet Danish” which is a mixture of various Scandinavian languages, and allows for a mutual understanding between the nationalities.
  • The country is very religious, even in modern times.
  • All villages have a church that is representative of The Danish Church.
  • Religion also has a strong presence within the country’s politics.
  • Most Faroese people do not recycle. It’s not a part of their culture at present.
  • Fishing used to be the biggest industry within the Faroe Islands, but is no longer. They can’t do it cheaply enough, and there simply aren’t enough fish left.
  • The derive a lot of power from wind energy, and are currently attempting to develop power from water currents, but as it is a very expensive undertaking, it’s development is slow.

Birgir was a fantastic person to speak to, and I just wish we’d had a little more time with him, as I still had lots of questions!!

(photo below pinched from Birgir’s blog)

Birk

 

Next stop was at the Faroese University for a talk with Tota Arnadottir, an expert on languages, literature, folklore, and faerytales… yes, I loved her! she was talking about everything I was interested in!!

(Photos below pinched from Mhairi Law)Mhairi Law (2)

The fairytales in Faroese culture are younger than some of the older folk tales and ballads, and they have in some parts been appropriated from different cultures (heavy Celtic, Scottish, and Norse influences), yet still retain a Faroese flavour.

I was disappointed to learn that there are no written collections available as reading material – even in Faroese – as I would’ve loved to adopt that kind of book. Within the culture, stories are verbal, as with most, yet here they live on in the verbal a lot more than other cultures. Stories are told over shared meals, or sung in the ballads, and chain dances.

Tota then went on to tell us three stories… but as I visited the places the myths were created in, I’ll wait until later on to tell you these tales! One from Mikladalur about The Seal Woman. One from Tjørnuvík about the hidden people. And the third about Risin og Kellingin. So, keep on following this journey to learn those tales…

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The hidden people, or Huldufólk, are a large part of the mythology surrounding these islands. The Huldufólk are elf-like people who are larger than humans, grey in colour, with dark black hair, and live inside the rocks of the mountains. Although people no longer believe in these tales, there is still a respect for the hidden people. Large rocks, where they are said to live, are not moved or damaged for fear of angering the Huldufólk living within. Stories of those who have done us such, and met with a nasty fate, make for popular tales within the Faroes, and Iceland, where the Huldufólk are also present in mythology.

I like the idea of the Huldufólk and would like to work them into my work at some point. I also like them, in that they are a faerytale that makes sense. They are shaped by the landscape and by real life. They could be real. I like fantasy that is interlaced with reality, it makes for much more interesting storytelling. If you didn’t think, even if only for a second, that the creature you were being told about, or reading about, was real… would the story be as good? would you be enraptured? would that shadow dancing in the corner of your eye be quite as convincing? the shadows beneath the waves as enticing? If we believe, even for a second, that magic is real, the faeries exist… then they already do.

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Tota went on to tell us about the great ballads and the chain dance.

The chain dance is simple. Link arms, two steps to the right, then one to the left, all the while chanting the words to the songs. One person leads these chants, and traditionally it was such a person who also “wrote” the stories. Those with lots of experience make for the best leaders, and it is the leader who sets the tone, and rhythm for the dance. A good leader makes for a good dance, and vice versa.

These dances have been a great preserver for the language and the traditional stories, and although the style of dance is common throughout Europe, it is the Faroese who have maintained the culture of the chain dance above the others.

Now, it is becoming a little more difficult to attract young people to take up the tradition, but there are musicians, who are modernising the classic tales. Some purists find this detestable, but I think the adapting of tales to suit the tastes of the modern in order to preserve them and keep them alive is fantastic.

One such example is TÝR who have combined the traditional music with the contemporary…

The Faroese have a great music culture!

 

(Photo below pinched from Lea Kannar)Lea Kannar (1)

Thanks Tota, that talk was fantastic!

 

I had a little wander around town after the talk, doing a little souvenir shopping, buying a TÝR CD, and stopping at our favourite cafe Brell for a quick hot chocolate before returning back to the hostel for dinner.

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Dinner… and salsa dancing in the kitchen!!

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After dinner, a few of us headed out to Sirkus for another night of fantastic live music. The name of the duo who played there completely escapes me, but they were great! and José managed to get a few good songs in with them too!

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The toilets in Sirkus have some awesome graffiti!!

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Another brilliant day!

More to come soon…

Chloe out.

Marshy hill walk in Mykines & an open mic night in Tòrshavn

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Day 6 of my journey around The Faroe Islands with The Clipperton Project.

Yesterday we walked out along the coast to the puffin colonies in the glorious sunshine, and today we walked up a marshy hill in the drizzingly rain. It was still beautiful… just a different kind of beautiful!

A small group of us decided to explore the other side of the small island, and we wrapped ourselves in waterproofs to tackle the wet weather on our walk up the boggy hills on the other side of the small town.

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That green ridge was where we walked along the previous day to see the puffins. It looks like a long way from here!! You can just see the lighthouse poking out from the top.

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I’m actually wearing a pink waterproof jacket… it was that cold!!! Yes, mum, thanks for the jacket, I do appreciate it :P

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A place that is so natural is still shaped by human hands. This, in a very beautiful way, but even here we are leaving our mark.

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After this cold, windy, wet walk we popped into the little cafe opposite the yellow house for a hot chocolate! and I doodled in my journal for a bit.

Just before heading back to the ferry, I went for one last wander…

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I include this dead bird picture, because I found it interesting. This is the third dead bird i came across like this. All that remains are the wings, and a little connection of bone in he middle. It suggests to me that the middle of the bird is the only edible part, or the part that is easily accessed by scavenging animals. However, to me, the interesting part is that I can see where fallen fairy or fallen angel stories could arise from, if all that is left of them are dead wings, lying abandoned and broken on the ground without their body counterparts.

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The ferry back was cold and windy!!!

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A small group of us broke off from the main, to head back to Tòrshavn for an open mic night, featuring Josè ( a member of our merry crew!) who was invited to play by the organiser.

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José is a fantastic musician, and if you follow this link, you can nosey at his beautiful work.

 

After the bars closed we headed over to the stone steps were a small group of people were hanging out playing guitar, and we talked and enjoyed the music they were playing until the almost dark hours of the morning. It was a wonderful night, full of great music and lots of fun :)

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Stay tuned for more…

Chloe out.

Puffins! Puffins!! Puffins!!!

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Day 5 on the Faroe Islands with The Clipperton Project.

Today we saw LOTS of puffins!!

We walked along a rather steep and gravely up and down path along the cliffs of Mykines, stopping to catch our breath and take photographs of the stunning views from every angle.

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Photo below pinched from Mhairi Law.Mhairi Law (1)Faroes (103)IMG_2163IMG_2164IMG_2165IMG_2166IMG_2168IMG_2170Faroes (107)IMG_2171Faroes (111)IMG_2178IMG_2179 bwIMG_2180 bwIMG_2181

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This bridge was amazing! Standing look over the perilous edge, down at the crashing blue waters and colonies of nesting seagulls was quite magnificent. Then facing the bridge, to go through, you could see the unique architecture of the metal rods making a beautiful crisscrossing pattern, and hitting the floorboards with crossed shadows. A simple means to cross the sea below, yet quite beautiful in it’s harshness against the landscape.

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All those little dots you can see are puffins!!!IMG_2208IMG_2212IMG_2214IMG_2217 bwIMG_2221 bw

This is the top! I made it!!!

It looks cold, but it was stunningly warm… to the extent that I took off most of my layers to enjoy the warmth!! and the foggy clouds that shrouded my walkway to the top just added to the mystery of the little isle.

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Returning back down from the edge where the lighthouse signalled, I started to see black and white zooming birds with flashes of colour leading their ways….. I took a lot longer to get back than I did to get there as I kept stopping to watch these adorable little guys flying overhead! I also sat among their little burrowed nests for about an hour just watching them dive in and out and go about their mating season.

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We were so close!… something that stirred a sense of excitement in me, yet upon reflection is not a good thing. I’m all for appreciating nature in the natural world… but when you have ramblers, including myself, walking over a path just footsteps away from puffin nests, you gotta ask yourself if it’s okay. No, is the simple answer. We were disturbing these little guys during mating season, and there was nothing to stop us doing so. I don’t think natural spaces should be fenced off and shut peered at through a closed door… but if we can’t find a way to protect the natural spaces we have left (from idiots, as well as well-meaning people like myself and our group, who aren’t out to harm the puffins intentionally, merely appreciate them in their natural setting, but at the same time are unwillingly causing the animals an amount of distress and disturbance), then we will no longer have any true natural spaces to enjoy.

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I walked away thinking about that.

It was hard to focus on environmental issues with such distracting beauty surrounding me…

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A wee puffin to see me off as I walked back up the steepest steps of the trail.

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I wasn’t quite ready to head back down to the yellow house yet, so I walked along a bit of ridge, intending to sit and doodle in my sketchbook for a while, but as I peered down over the cliff… look who distracted me!!

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Today was pretty awesome… I went from never having seen a puffin to seeing thousands! and it was just brilliant!!

A little relaxing in the yellow house after an exciting puffin filled day! (photo pinched from Tracey M Benson).Tracey M Benson

 

Stay tuned for more…
Chloe out.

Travelling to Mykines and my first puffin sighting!

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Day 4 of my trip around The Faroe Islands with The Clipperton Project.

Today we are travelling from Tórshavn to Mykines.

Mykines is the westernmost island in the Faroes, and has a permanent all year round population of 11 people, with about 40 houses, most of which are only used in the summer season. Most excitingly however, are the puffins! The island is one of only two remaining that is home to a colony of nesting puffins, as well as countless other seabirds, including gannets, guillemots, kittiwakes, fulmars, etc. etc.

It’s also a place where I learnt a great piece of mythology…

Tórur Rami intended to conquer Mykines and all of its wealth. He therefore went towards Mykines and went ashore at Borgaragjógv, eastwards of Mykines and walked westwards towards the village. Óli Rami then saw Tórur, heading towards him above the village and flew west towards what soon would be the Holm and which at that time was a part of Mykines. In an attempt to be safe, Óli asked for the Holm to be an island and so it became. But that fact was not enough to stop Tórur, who just jumped across Holm Gjogv. Now the to giants began to fight and the fight was very violent and took place at a place, which now is called “í Traðki”. Óli got the upper hand and was close to kill Tórur. But Tórur now asked for mercy and promised Óli three gifts, which should come to Mykines every year, if Óli would spare his life.
The gifts were a whale, which every year should strand at Hválagjógv, a piece of timber, which should strand at Viðarhelli and a special bird, the gannet, which should settle down at the Holm. But there was one condition; none of these gifts should ever be sneered at. If the Mykines people did so, the gifts would disappear. Óli accepted the conditions and spared Tórur’s life.
They so agreed and both settled down on Mykines and are said to both be buried on Mykines close to where the Memorial now is standing.
But the story continues. The people of Mykines criticized the gifts. They were unsatisfied with the whale, which had only one eye and which gave them a bad stomach. And also the timber wasn’t good enough, it was awry. From then on neither a whale nor a piece of timber came ashore. But with this experience in mind, no citizen from Mykines dares criticize the gannet, as they say, “Súlan er goð”, the gannet is just fine.

(source)

So, that explains the birdlife!!!

 

After a lazy start to our morning, we headed out of Tórshavn on a bus to Søvagur to catch the ferry over to Mykines.

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Søvagur was a pretty little town, with a beautiful harbour… with plenty of rusty metal inspiration for me to photograph!

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Boobs… hmhm, okay immature… shush!!!Faroes (52)

All aboard the ferry we go!! It was a lovely ride over, pretty smooth, and wonderfully sunny for most of the way. Our first taste at being out on the water…

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Panoramas pinched from Naomi J. FalkNaomi J Falk (1)Naomi J Falk (2)IMG_2087Faroes (71)IMG_2082IMG_2093IMG_2084IMG_2079IMG_2077IMG_2090Faroes (66)Faroes (67)IMG_2091IMG_2092

And into the harbour we go!

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Although I took this photo later on when I went for my walk, I include it now because I want to show you the harbour contraption they had going on. Like many of the islands, Mykines is surrounded by cliff faces… so how does one get a boat/heavy luggage up and down the cliffs? build a pulley system on tracks to pull it up and down! Brilliant. I include this mostly for my Dad as it’s the kind of clever and simple mechanism he’d like… so, if you’re reading this, you big weirdo, enjoy!!

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After setting ourselves up in the yellow house, and having a little dinner, I went for a wee walk around the town, and then down to the harbour to see what I could see.

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My first puffin sighting!!! And many more to come tomorrow…

Mykines was a big highlight in my trip.

Stay tuned…

Chloe out.