Vágur Shipyard, Weaving School, a dead bird, and the Mayor’s party that we weren’t invited to.

Day 15 of my travels with The Clipperton Project around the Faroe Islands.

Today we were in Vágur!

First thing, we headed out to the shipyard for a tour with Gudmundur. To start us off, he had two plates for sampling: one with sliced pilot whale blubber, and the other with dried slices of cod fish. I, obviously did not try any!

This is the closest I’ve been to crossing “touch a whale” off my bucket list… but as it’s a dead hunk of whale, it’s perhaps also the furthest away I’ve been from achieving this goal…

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But it was interesting to hear Gudmundur’s opinions on the Grind. I can’t say I can ever condone the brutal slaughtering of any animal, but my abject horror at these events has been minimally diminished.

Gudmundur described himself as “Chairman of the Grind” which basically meant he is one of the many who oversee the events, and ensure everything is happening safely, and humanely. The older generation of men, teach the younger generation of boys (yup, no girls here. It’s a man thing. I think the more recent hunts have been more inclusive, but generally it’s an all boys club. Good, quite frankly. You keep this to yourself little men. If killing majestic creatures, that you have no real reason to kill anymore (yes, I do understand that in the past this killing was a necessity, but it is no longer), makes you feel like you have a bigger dick, then do you think you could just not? Go and have a wank and chill yourself out. That whale doesn’t really need to be sliced up by your idiot ass. Anyway… I was trying to be less judgemental wasn’t I? Yeah… it’s not working. Especially when I know how anti-feminist, anti-inclusive, anti-LGBT, anti-different a lot of the culture is in the Faroes, it makes it harder to be accepting of something like this. Don’t get me wrong, everybody we met was lovely. I had a great time. But there is a lot of internalised stuff going on there, that is fairly unsettling). At least they are now killing the whales humanely. That’s something. Although, I got the impression that was more because they are being watched on a world stage, and not because they actually care about the whale, but at least it’s a step in the right direction. All animal killing is bloody and gory… just most of the time you don’t see it. The only reason people care about this more than other things is because it’s out in the open. I don’t see the same people who are angry about this, protesting at their local battery farm, at their local slaughter house. Of course not, the meat I eat comes in a vacuum-packed bag, so it must have been killed humanely right? Sure. But it was still killed. It still bled. It still suffered to get to you. But you didn’t see it, so it didn’t count. I might sound like a self-righteous vegetarian, but it bothers me that the same people who get upset about one thing, couldn’t care less about another. I’m not saying don’t eat meat. You do what you want where that is concerned. But if you get upset about one animal being killed for food, you have to upset about all the others one too. At least the amount of whales being killed is dropping each year, hopefully soon it will be firmly at zero. One small thing that I actually thought was quite nice about the Grind (I know, who thought I’d ever describe whale killing as nice!!) is the community aspect of it. Everyone gets their share. Those who kill for their community bring the flesh back and divide it equally amongst everyone. From young to old, everyone gets the same amount, even those in care homes get their piece. And the eating of the meat is now only done at special occasions, and it’s a real treat for them to have it. Good for the whales, hopefully less will be killed. And good for the people… the mercury content of these animals is only getting higher… which is a whole other problem!!

Whale killing is bad. Simple as that. In my opinion. But, saying that, I would advise you to gather all the facts before stewing into a ball of rage. And if you do want to support efforts to get this banned from the Faroes, do not support Sea Sheppard. They are fucking idiots, and are not helping their cause even one little bit. Speak up, but do so with knowledge and good words… unlike my rant above!!

 

Anyway…………..

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Gudmundur showed us around the shipyard. The tools they had were fantastic! It smelled like wood shavings and paint in there… my favourite!

I found it quite sweet and engaging that he described building a boat as building part of himself, an imbuing his soul into it. As an artist, I totally get that! It’s sad that beautiful wooden ships like The Johanna are few in number now, and are not being built like they used to be. The knowledge of how to create like that will die out with the few people who know how.

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We then walked along the shore, having a nosey at all the boats around there, and peeking into little boathouses to see the vessels within…

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After the shipyard, a few of us headed along to the weaving school. One of the teachers, Karen, was there to meet us, and she told us a little of the history of the weaving in her town. When looms came to the Faroes, Vágur had one loom for the whole village! and women would queue for a chance to use it. The weaving school was opened 10 years ago, and they’ve slowly built up the number of looms, and cultivated a full teaching programme for students of the craft.

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We waited with Karen while she waited for her husband to pick her up, and were treated to a small chain dance with her! It was a really beautiful experience. We all linked hands at the little bus stop, she taught us the steps: two the left, one to the right, and she chanted as we moved as one in our little circle. Perfect.

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Tonight, our boat had been nicked by the Mayor to host a party. We weren’t invited, so had to hang around town until midnight (which turned out to be 2am!). We loitered in the local hotel restaurant…

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I went for a wee wander with another girl along to the edge of town while the sun was setting.

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A beautiful walk to the end the day… oh wait… I can’t go to bed yet because there are people partying in it!!

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We eventually got there! and managed to shoo the drunk people away from our bunk!

Night night beer soaked Johanna.

More to come soon…

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.

Travelling to Mykines and my first puffin sighting!

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.

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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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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.

Neolithic Brochs, Haunted Castles, Witches Pools, Pineapple Houses and Cavemen

On Saturday I headed out on a Larbert bound train heading for a wonderful day of adventures!

I’ve recently just discovered, and signed up to, Meetup. It’s fantastic!

Meetup is the world’s largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 9,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.

So basically it’s a huge database of all the social groups in your local area, and I’m currently signing up to all the amazing events as we speak…. I’ve spent wayyyy too long wrapped up in my duvet cocoon, snuggling up in a Netflix rabbit-hole…. so this seems like a good way to get out and enjoy lots of weird and wonderful things! So… stay tuned for lots of interesting blog posts to come!… starting with this one…

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Come learn about Pictish Culture and the fingerprints of a time long past… Hypnotic blue pools that none can explain and a dilapidated castle and cave system. If people have transport we can also head to one of only two Pineapple Houses in the world…. Plus a bonus caveman lesson in cooking.

That was today’s description… vague but interesting!

And interesting it certainly was. Thank you to everyone involved, I had a great day, and you were all so lovely :) Special mention for Lance: our incredibly knowledgeable guide, and host. You made the the day! and the oily cake things were brilliant!!

First stop…… The Pineapple House!!!

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This glorious example of expert stonemasonry was commissioned by Lord Dunmore, as a gift for his wife. In Virginia, sailors would put pineapples on their gatepost to signify their arrival home, and it was this tradition that Lord Dunmore brought back home and, well…. elaborated on!

Unfortunately the actual building isn’t open to the public, but the beautiful gardens and surrounding woodland was, and we had a lovely little wander round! taking in all the plants… and even nibbling on a few! We also, walked out to the old mausoleum, which although crumbling and dilapidated, was rather beautiful and overgrown with stunning greenery, and mystical yew trees.

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Next stop, a hike through an ethereal larch forest to a Pictish settlement: Tapoch Broch. Although only the ground floor remains, after scrambling through the tiny arched door, it was easily to visualise how this was a fortified building housing lives of years past.

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Next, a walk up to a system of caves where we stopped to build a fire and fry up some Bannock Buns. This was our cave:

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And this was our view:

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After caveman lunch, we wandered back through the trees, and came across a mystifying sight…

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Nobody knows the origins of this magical pool, or even why it is so blue and clear. The water has been tested, and still no explanation… a blip in the middle of the woods. Lance described it as a witching pool: looking onto the surface of the crystal clear turquoise water the reflections shining back at you are supposed to be visions of the future…… what do you see?

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Heading back along our path, we wandered to our final destination: Torwood Castle.

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Today was beautiful. I would highly recommend everywhere we went… and I would highly recommend taking a Lance with you!

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Chloe out.

An Inspiration trip to Musselburgh Beach

I introduced Ondine yesterday, so today is a little inspiration for the project!

We got off the bus, popped in for a sneaky ice cream at Luca’s and wandered down the river to the sea.DSC_0111

For February the weather was rather glorious; not a breeze in sight, a few whisps of cloud but mostly blue stretching through the skies and weirdly warm. Warm enough to take my shoes off and curl my toes around the sand while we had our little picnic.DSC_0114DSC_0101 smallDSC_0098DSC_0100DSC_0108 bwDSC_0118DSC_0124DSC_0230We, well I, beachcombed up and down the sandy shoreline as Bailey darted about after other dogs and my brother whined for me to hurry up. After, I had picked up as many shells, sea glass, bones(!), seaweed, and other assorted gems as I could carry in my pockets, we dragged Bailey away from the water and carried on with our walk.

A brief stop at a playpark, yes, we are children!

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And then off down the John Muir walkway. I wanted to walk all the way down to Prestonpans as I knew it was more of a rocky shoreline and I would get some great imagery for a part of my story that featured a plethora of rocks! But we had left it a little to get our arses out the door, so it was rather dark and we didn’t quite make it all the way long… but there is always next time!!!DSC_0232 bwLook at all the stuff I collected!!Finds (2)

Currently sorting through it, and using them as drawing inspiration… might even make a few samples or pieces from my collections (keep your eyes peeled in my etsy store!). For now… a little more writing.

DSC_0184 bwChloe out.