On our first full day on our Easter trip to the Faroe Islands, we woke up late after the night out, to a world of rain and fog. Still, we were determined to get something out of the day and decided to go on a roadtrip to the northern part of the island of Eysturoy. Poul drove us and our friend Tórur decided to come along as well. We intented to climb Slætteratindur, the highest mountain in the country, but just as our last attempt in August last year, it was far too foggy to even try to climb the mountain. Instead, we headed to Gjógv, where Katrine wanted to pay a tribute to her uncle, who had recently passed away. Gjógv was one of his favourite places in the Faroe Islands, so it seemed natural for her to do it there.
I love the Faroe Islands so much that I want to see every single corner of it. I simply want to see everything. That’s why, even though it was my fourth time visiting Gjógv, I was eager to find a new part of the village to explore – and that we found.
We went to a rocky place to the right of the famous gorge, which most tourists come to Gjógv for. I hadn’t walked there before, so it was great to see the famous village from a completely new perspective. My fourth time in Gjógv brought something new with it, but can the village continue to surprise me? Will I ever get enough of that beautiful pearl on the northernmost tip of Eysturoy? I think not.
On the way back through Eysturoy, we made a short detour to the tiny village of Elduvík – a village that I hadn’t ever been to before! There’s only one road that leads to Elduvík, the beautiful Fjarðavegur, a so-called ‘Buttercup Road’. These roads can be found all over the Faroe Islands, marked by buttercup signs, showing the way to some of the most scenic parts of the country.
Elduvík is a tiny village located in the Funningsfjørður inlet on the northeastern part of Eysturoy, and is home to only 23 people. A small river runs through the village, splitting it into two parts.
To our luck, a local man was coming out of the village church from 1952 just as we arrived, so he let us go in to have a look. The church is a perfect example of a small, atmospheric, Faroese village church.
Elduvík is an extremely charming village with classic beautiful island views and turf-roofed houses. It’s no surprise that a Buttercup Road leads tourists there!
Back on Streymoy and heading towards Poul’s home in Hoyvík, we made a short stop at Við Áir, an old abandoned whaling station located half way between the villages of Hvalvík and Hósvík.
The whaling station of Við Áir was the last of seven whaling stations to be built in the country. It was built in 1905 and run by the Norwegian company Chr. Salvesen & Co until 1930.
In 1936, the whaling station was taken over by the Faroese company P/F Sperm, who rebuilt and modernized it. By 1936, the whale stocks in the North Atlantic Ocean had decreased, and during the Second World War, the whaling activities stopped completely, yet resumed in 1945, when the war had ended. But the whale stocks had decreased so much that the company went bankrupt in 1952, and after being in the hands of a few other companies for 16 years, the whaling station was almost abandoned. In the following 18 years, only approximately 30 whales in all were shot and brought to the station, and in 1986, the last whale was shot.
On November 26th 2013, there was one last activity at the station, when a stranded Sperm Whale was hauled up and shortly after being cut into, it exploded. The video of the incident soon went viral – if you haven’t already seen it, you can see it here!
The whaling station is the last of its kind in the Northern Hemisphere, and out of a total of 214 whaling stations built by the Norwegians in the 20th century, it is one of three that remain in the world; the other two are located in Albany in Western Australia and Grytviken on the island of South Georgia.
Today, the station is being preserved by the National Museum as a place of historical importance. I thought it was very interesting to explore the abandoned whaling station, although I would’ve never been able to guess what once went on there, had I not known before going.
Despite being a rainy and slow day, our first full day in the Faroe Islands was still full of adventure and new views of my favourite country. It was good to start out slow, especially considering the physical challenges that we would be faced with in the following days – stay tuned!