The Knitting Rock

Our first proper day in the Faeroes was blessed with what a local lady jokingly referred to as “Faeroese sunshine” , ie it was pouring with rain! It would appear that in common with Scotland and much of Scandinavia the Spring and early summer has been particularly cold . One 90 year old said it was the worst she could remember but with good clothing and almost continuous use of the heater we can honestly say it hasn’t been a problem.

From The Faeroes

Walking in waterproofs certainly gets you hot and after a long explore on foot we came to the conclusion that this was a prosperous society , very friendly towards tourists , and totally orientated towards the sea in general , and fishing in particular. Dotted around the coastline each little village has a harbour of sorts , often big enough to take large seagoing ships. Within these are small boat harbours wherein are moored little double ended motorboats ranging from 18 to 30 feet and bearing a distinct lineage to the Viking ships of their ancestors. Amongst these were pulling boats of a slightly smaller size that could have come from the 12th century were it not for the rudder hung on the sternpost instead of the Viking steering oar on the “steerboard” side . It transpired that rowing these craft is the national sport , so with much excitement I made my way down to the local rowing club. I have managed to blag my way onto traditional rowing boats in most of the places we have visited , but here I was met with astonishment and the tactful (!) comment that in the Faeroes rowing is for the under 30’s, aka you are too old!
I think this is the first time someone has said this to me about anything , ( which just goes to show how you can fool yourself MOST of the time!) and my first reaction was to resent it . Further reflection produced the thought that if some old geezer from the Faeroes wandered up to Southampton football club and asked if there was a space in the local derby with Portsmouth , he might be met with the same amused incomprehension. Certainly the evening practice sessions were pretty athletic and I managed to be a spectator with reasonable good humour. Every Saturday thoughout the mid summer all the islands clubs meet at one venue after another for a regatta , and we hope to take one of these in during our stay.

From The Faeroes

The passage to Sandoy , the next inhabited island to the North , started out in perfect visibility allowing us to admire the astonishing cliffs and dramatic shapes of the little islands of Lille and Stora Dimon on the way. The rise and fall of tide is only 1 metre here , but the tidal streams are complex and fast ( up to 8 knots in places). We had taken the harbour masters advice on when to leave , and soon regretted it as we were too early for the passage through these islands , barely making way through the tide races under engine. Then came thick fog, which was not a huge issue given that we have radar , GPS and chart plotter, but without these it would have been fairly terrifying.
Sandoy is relatively low lying and so we thought it would be ideal for exploring by cycle , and it probably is for fit young things on full sized bikes ( is there an age theme developing here?). We found that “relatively low lying “ still meant a significant climb to the pass before the descent to the delightful villages on the East coast and I must have been working hard as I snapped my seat post! Not only too old but too fat as well. Exchanging posts with Lynda got us back on the road, but with rather bent legs the climb back was fairly hard work. The moist southerly breeze climbed the hill with us and although I am told the view is breathtaking, the fog enveloping us ensured we only saw a few metres of land either side , lots of sheep and even more rocks. It was probably just as well as we were breathing pretty hard even without the view.

From More Faeroes

What do you do in the winter on an island full of sheep, quite a lot of rocks and no daylight? Well in Sandoy the womenfolk knitted a cover for a rock . Not just any rock, but pretty much the largest one on the island. On a little path near a foggy cliff you come upon a signpost that says (in Faeroese) the “knitting rock”. Down the path, little pebbles ( covered in patterned wool ) lead you to ………… well I cannot describe it . Only a picture will do. Lynda and I both burst out laughing with sheer pleasure from the eccentric madness of it all. And yet somehow it is the perfect fit for this crazy little place stuck out in the  North Atlantic.


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