Cliff-Walking in Sumba

Day 14 of my travels with The Clipperton Project around the Faroe Islands.

Today a few of us went walking from the tiny town of Sumba, through some fields, and around a stunning cliff face… and almost making it to Lopra before taking the bus back to Vágur!

But first a good morning selfie… or two!!

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Onward to Sumba…..

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This guy was brilliant! He talked to us for a while about the sheep they keep here. Those little lambs next to him lost their mama :( but he is caring for them while they grow up. (photo pinched from Mhairi Law)

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I’m not sure what this stuff was… but I could quite easily see it growing under the sea… perhaps encrusting the crown of a swimming mermaid…

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Corseted fence?!

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Sea pinks!!

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That little town you can see in the distance is Lopra… with the long winding road down… we didn’t quite make it all the way, and had to run down the grassy hills to catch the bus!!

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A beautiful spot to stop for lunch. I love sitting somewhere where I can dangle my feet off the edge.

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We caught the bus in time! and headed back to Vágur.

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Night night Johanna.

See you again tomorrow :)

Stay tuned…

Chloe out.

Our First Sailing Day! Vágur to Tvøroyri

Day 12 of my travels with The Clipperton Project around the Faroe Islands.

Today was our first day of sailing! from Vágur to Tvøroyri.

Look how happy we are :D

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Leaving Vágur. This was a short, calm journey, and it left me so optimistic to my seasick levels… how wrong I could be!!

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Docking in Tvøroyri.

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Our first stop was the History and Maritime Museum of Tvøroyri which was kindly opened up for us to have a nosey around.

The building had an unusual history, it had been everything from a house, to a police station, to a doctor’s surgery, and now is a museum housing artefacts, photographs, and information from the history of the town.

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Doctors used to really like hacking away at lady parts back in the day… :O

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Traditional Faroese dress. The jewellery strikes me as quite Celtic in its nature. I wonder if there are any common routes there?

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After a quick bite to eat and some stroking of a lovely fat cat outside the pub, we headed off on a walk around the mountains to the valley of Hvannhagi.

Briefly stopping to admire this buoy! Isn’t it fantastic?! It was huge!!!

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Damn I look sexy in trousers and a hat……. :|

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JOHANNA!!

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Majestic horse is majestic.

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I’m not quite sure what this stuff was. It looked like liquid metal. I guess it must have been some form of oil seeping up from the earth. A fairy pond shimmering with magic.

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I made it to the top!! And was rewarded with a stunning stunning view…

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Accidentally dramatically edited photos!

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That little line in the image above was the “path” we followed to reach the lake below. It was a teeny tiny path, no wider than one foot’s worth, and all over the place… a little treacherous! but worth it for the views.

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A truly beautiful walk.

 

Johanna was flying a new flag when we arrived back to the dock!!

Yup. That is sheep’s wool!

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Found bracelet.

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We sailed away again this evening, heading for Hvalba.

I was really rather ill on this crossing. I hadn’t figured out my strategy yet. Seasickness curse!!! But I still managed to snap a few photos of our journey (selfie pre-sickness!!).

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Safely docked for the night!!

See you tomorrow in our adventures around Hvalba.

Stay tuned.

Chloe out.

Birgir Kruse & Tota Arnadottir

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!!

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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!

 

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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

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!!!

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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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.

Listasavn Føroya -The Faroe Islands Art Museum in Tòrshavn

Day 3 of my journey around The Faroe Islands with The Clipperton Project.

Today was a Sunday. Sunday in Tòrshavn means that basically everything was closed, including all the buses! So, we had a rather lazy start to the day… a wee lie in, and milling around internet researching, and munching on cookies!!

Around lunchtime we headed out to the Listasavn Føroya (after a quick detour from the Nordic House, which was shut… fret not! I got to it later!!) which is the national art gallery in the Faroe’s, and one of the only things open!!!

Fine arts started relatively late within Faroese culture, with crafts and handmade items being favoured to occupy the makers’ hands. Painting, drawing, sculpture, etc. were overlooked until around 1800, but most art from earlier on, hasn’t always survived. The Faroese Art Society, who run this museum, now endeavour to preserve and promote all the fine arts that the Faroe Islands have to offer!

I wasn’t allowed to take my camera in, but I sneaked a few photos on my iPod… shh!!!

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This room/installation was amazing, and my photos don’t really do it justice! The floor and ceiling was mirrored, and the walls were lined with colourful blue toned stained glass. The mirrors gave the feeling of stepping into infinity, a reoccurring figure amongst the waves. It was beautiful.

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I’m going to do another post about these birds in suits as I loved Edward Fuglø’s work, and naturally had to buy these postcards for my art wall!

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Outside the gallery were bronze sculptures (by Hans Pauli Olsen who I’ll blog about later when we get to the selkie statue!), and it was surrounded by a stunning wooded parkland, which I wandered around getting lost with the trolls and hidden people…

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I think this one is my favourite. It speaks to me of an elemental soul escaping, or perhaps being grounded. It’s beautiful, and the texture is stunning.

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Troll?

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I was feeling a little inspired! and doodled a few things in my sketchbook, which I’ll share in some later posts with lots of hand-journalled images!!
I enjoyed wandering around this woodland. It was incredibly peaceful… Relaxing… inspiring… peaceful.
Stay tuned for more…!
Chloe out.

From Tòrshavn to Kirkjubøur

Day 2 of my residency in The Faroe Islands with The Clipperton Project.

Today we day-tripped to the tiny town of Kirkjubøur.

But first, a wee group of us took the scenic route from our house up on the hill of Tòrshavn down to the bus terminal.

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Next stop Kirkjubøur.

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It was a beautiful walk down the road from the bus stop to the town.IMG_1948IMG_1949IMG_1957Photo below pinched from Lynne Reed.Lynne Reed (1)

A beautiful little coastal town, with about 80 inhabitants, and featuring the oldest church on the island. It’s thought that this town originally featured a viking settlement, but evidence of this as minimal as it was diminished when the Catholic movement arrived on the Faroes. The original Magnus Cathedral church in this town dates back to 1111 and the slightly newer building Olav Church, dates back to 1290.

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There was also a little traditional style stone building with a grass sown roof, out on the coastal edge, just away from the cemetery, which was oddly quite far away from the two churches.

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And in the town was a traditional style Faroese house, which I later discovered was a “castle”. It’s called Kirkjubøargarður and was owned by one of the oldest families on the island, Patursson. It was beautiful inside and out.

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Pretty little town and such stunning sunshine! Another perfect day…

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… and we even had a pretty pony join us for lunch!!

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Stay tuned for more!

Chloe out.