Since Solveig and I stayed in Vestmanna here in November, we thought it would be the perfect time to check out the local area. I’ve been to Vestmanna a few times before to visit Rigmor, Jens and the boys, and I’ve explored the mountains above the village and the neighbouring village of Kvivik. But I’ve never set foot in Leynar, located just 15 km from Vestmanna, although I have driven past it hundreds of times!
Because of its unique volcanic black sand beach, Leynar has often caught my eye, and I’ve wanted to check the village out for ages, but just never got around to doing it. But on my third day in the country, Solveig and I decided to explore it!
We left the house just before noon after completing some chores and walking Alex for an hour around Vestmanna. Before going to Leynar, we hitchhiked to Kvivik, where an old viking age settlement is located. I had promised my teacher to film a video of Solveig and I by the old excavation for our Christmas calendar at uni, so that was a fun project to do in those beautiful surroundings.
Leynar is only a short 2 kilometer walk from Kvivik, so we decided not to hitchhike, but to walk and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful nature instead.
I love the area around Leynar and could easily imagine living there. The village has a backdrop of some of Streymoys highest mountains and a view over the islands of Vágar, Koltur, Hestur and Sandoy. Also, Leynar has that amazing black sand beach, which is much more beautiful and mysterious than I ever thought a beach could be.
I’m not kidding when I say that this is my favourite beach in the world. I’m not much for tropical beaches with palm trees (although they can be pretty), but I really LOVE northern beaches that are rough and forceful. There were no people in sight, just us, the black sand and the wild ocean.
The texture and stratigraphy of this volcanic sand was mesmerizing. When we walked down to the beach, we realized that the sand was frozen stiff! I’ve never seen anything like it! We spent a good 30 minutes walking around the beach, discovering old whale bones and admiring the turf-roofed houses that overlook the beach. Someday, we will live right there at that very spot – or so we wish.
After exploring the magnificent frozen beach, we walked further into the village of Leynar, and decided to follow Leynarsvegur, the only road going through the village, to the lighthouse, and when we realized that it led further out of the village, I looked at my map and saw that it led to another tiny village!
This village is called Skælingur, and it’s as tiny as can be with a population of only 13. It’s located on the west side of Streymoy, which is much less densely inhabited than the east side, which is dotted with villages all along the coast, including the nation’s capital, Tórshavn.
We decided to walk to Skælingur, as it was only 2 kilometers away and the weather was beautiful, plus we still had three hours until sunset!
The way to the village is along a winding coastal road that follows the bottom part of the mountain of Sátan (yes, that’s really its name…) and runs towards the mountain of Skælingsfjall. Skælingur lies right by the foot of Skælingsfjall, which stands at 767 metres and is one of the highest mountains in the country.
We could see the snow coming in over Kvivik in the distance as a thick white fog cloud covering the land. Halfway through our walk, the snow had reached us! The pearl white snow drops came rushing down from the sky, covering both us and the ground in a wonderful carpet of white. My Christmas spirit has never been better!
We got to Skælingur and walked all the way to the end of the road and then followed a path until that stopped too. We were so close to the trail to the top of Skælingsfjall, but it was getting dark in an hour, plus the mountain was full of snow at the top. We had no possible way of reaching it that day, but I would love to do it someday.
The village was as dead as anything, and we figured that hitchhiking back to Leynar would be impossible. But to our luck, two Portuguese tourists had also decided to come all the way out there, and took us back to Leynar, from where we hitchhiked back home to Vestmanna. As we drove past Leynar, I looked back at the black sand beach and saw sheep all over it! That was a rare sight!
An exciting day with new destinations was over. We explored a beautiful black sand beach, and I found out about a tiny village that I didn’t even know existed. Now I’m more than excited to return to that area and climb its high mountains!