On our third day in Norðoyggjar, Katrine and I decided to do one of the most difficult hikes on the Faroe Islands – climbing the third highest mountain, Villingadalsfjall at 841 m., and from there onwards to Cape Enniberg at 754 m., which is one of the highest promontories in the entire world. Because of the difficulty of the hike, it’s recommended to hire a guide or go with a local, but because we both have quite a lot of experience with hiking, we decided to go on this adventure alone.
We hitchhiked from our camp site in Klaksvík to Viðareiði, the northernmost village on the Faroe Islands, located on the island of Viðoy. We were picked up by a Polish guy, who had been living in Árnafjørður, a village located in between Klaksvík and Viðareiði, for several years. Because there weren’t many other cars on the road, he decided to drive us the entire 19 km. to Viðareiði, where the hike would begin.
A few minutes after he had dropped us off, a local man came up to us and gave us some advice about the hike. He told us that thick fog would be coming in throughout the entire country in the afternoon, so we were to head back to the village straight away when the fog would enter. We had heard this several times before, and it’s actually one of the main problems with tourists in the Faroe Islands – they don’t know the dangers of the mountains and end up going too close to the edge or climbing the wrong way. Just this year, there has been at least three accidents where tourists have been killed, so it’s no wonder that the locals are being extra protective of us.
Climbing up Villingadalsfjall was not a quick and easy thing to do. There were a lot of loose stones on the trail and no matter how high we got, we just never seemed to be at the summit. When hiking in the Faroe Islands, I’m used to summiting a mountain quickly since most of them aren’t very high, but climbing Villingadalsfjall was a real challenge. This was the toughest hike I had done since Mount Hallasan in Jeju Island back in April.
But I’m not one for giving up – and neither is Katrine. After two hours of hard work and effort, we finally reached the summit of Villingadalsfjall, from where we had the most breathtaking view of the north tips of the islands of Borðoy, Kunoy and Kalsoy, as well as Cape Enniberg and the two islands to the east of Viðoy; Fugloy and Svínoy. In my opinion, this is one of the most beautiful views on the Faroe Islands. I think the islands in the north part of the country are amazing and they’re definitely a candidate for the place that I’ll settle down in someday.
Now it was time to head north to the northernmost point of the Faroe Islands, the magnificent promontory of Cape Enniberg. Getting to Enniberg looked as easy as anything from the mountain, but it proved to be a lot more difficult than we ever thought possible.
We tried walking what we thought was the only correct way, along the ridge of the promontory, but suddenly we got to a point where we couldn’t go any further – at least not if we wanted to get back to Klaksvík with all of our limbs in place. We decided to turn back, but this time we walked closer to the edge, and suddenly I noticed a trail going around the ridge below us. We managed to get down there and were finally on the right track.
We walked along the trail for a while until we came to a large rock, where the only possible way – or so we thought – was to go right. We later found out that we should’ve turned left and jumped over a few gaps in the cliff, which was impossible to know without a guide. It’s no wonder they tell you not to go there on your own!
As we were walking along the cliff, on the opposite side of where we were supposed to be, we soon realized that this wasn’t going to get us anywhere. But I had no idea how to get to the end of Cape Enniberg, and I felt so bad for even considering giving up. But right then a miracle happened. I overheard to local guys speaking above us and shouted to them to ask them how on earth they got there! Laughing, the two local guys, who are called Sámal and Mortan, threw down some rope and hoisted us up. They are true legends!
We were only about 10 metres from the north tip of the promontory, so we walked there with our new friends and took in the amazing views over a well-deserved lunch. From the tip, we could see the rock Seyðtorva, which is the actual northernmost point of the Faroe Islands. Someday, I would love to sail out there and step foot on it!
When it was time to head back down to civilization, we decided to follow Sámal and Mortan in order to not get lost again. With all the loose stones on the trail, it was really tough – possibly even tougher than climbing up. Going down is always hard for the knees, and the knee injury that I had suffered from in Skálatoftir two days earlier, was also giving me problems here, but at least it was going in the right direction. Actually, I shouldn’t even have been hiking with the injury, but I simply could not help it – not when I’m on the Faroe Islands.
Getting back to the village was the most rewarding experience yet on our travels together. We had just successfully completed one of the toughest hikes in the Faroe Islands without a guide – although with some greatly appreciated help from our new Faroese friends.
A few hours after we got back from the hike, the fog came creeping in over the Faroe Islands and the entire country was drenched in rain. Our tent gave up in the storm, so we had to stay overnight in the camp site kitchen, before we were able to get to Tórshavn the following day, where we had borrowed a house. Our camping adventure was over for now, but our hiking adventures had only just begun. Stay tuned!