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7/8-17/8 2020                

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 GENERAL INFO (Jump to Diary)
I have had the Faeroe Islands on my list for years. Technically, it is just another part of my homeland; Denmark, but it is so different! And where the former 120 countries I have visited had their own Lonely Planet guidebook, this one has none, not even in Denmark or Scandinavia! Talk about unknown territory!
The Faroe or Faeroe Islands, Faroese: Føroyar and in Danish: Færøerne, are a North Atlantic archipelago located 320 kilometres north-northwest of Scotland, and about halfway between Norway and Iceland. The name actually started out as the "Sheep Islands" in old Nordic. It is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark.
The islands have a total area of about 1,400 square kilometres with a population of 52,110 as of January 2020 - and around twice as many sheep. The vast majority of the population are ethnic Faroese, of Norse and Celtic descent. Faroese is spoken in the entire area as a first language.

The Faroe Islands are an island group consisting of 18 major islands and a total of 779 islands, islets, and skerries, all volcanic origion. The terrain is rugged; the climate is subpolar oceanic climate; windy, wet, cloudy, and cool. The highest point; Slættaratindur reach 882 metres. Temperatures average above freezing throughout the year because of the Gulf Stream. As a result of the moderation and the northerly latitude, summers normally hover around 12°C Average temperatures are 5°C in winter. The northerly latitude location also results in perpetual civil twilight during summer nights and very short winter days.

Archaeological evidence shows settlers living on the Faroe Islands in two successive periods before the Norse arrived, the first between 300 and 600 and the second between 600 and 800. Scientists from the University of Aberdeen have also found early cereal pollen from domesticated plants, which further suggests people may have lived on the islands before the Vikings arrived.

Between 1035 and 1814 the Faroe Islands were part of the Kingdom of Norway, which was in a personal union with Denmark from 1450. In 1814 the Treaty of Kiel transferred Norway to the king of Sweden, on the winning side of the Napoleonic wars, whereas Denmark retained the Faroe Islands, along with Greenland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands have been a self-governing part of the Kingdom of Denmark since 1948,controlling most areas apart from military defence, policing, justice, currency, and foreign affairs.
Because the Faroe Islands are not part of the same customs area as Denmark, the country has an independent trade policy, and can establish trade agreements with other states. In the Nordic Council, they are represented as part of the Danish delegation. In certain sports, the Faroe Islands field their own national teams.

The economy is mainly based on fishing, which, along with salmon farming make up 95% of the export and half of the Faroese national gross product.

The flora of the Faroe Islands consists of over 400 different plant species, of which a quarter is brought by mankind. The natural vegetation of the Faroe Islands is dominated by arctic-alpine plants, wildflowers, grasses, moss, and lichen - and a lack of trees. Most of the lowland area is grassland and some is heath, dominated by shrubby heathers, mainly Calluna vulgaris. Among the herbaceous flora that occur in the Faroe Islands is the cosmopolitan marsh thistle, Cirsium palustre.

The bird fauna of the Faroe Islands is dominated by seabirds and birds attracted to open land such as heather, probably because of the lack of woodland and other suitable habitats. Many species have developed special Faroese sub-species: Common eider, Common starling, Eurasian wren, Common murre, and black guillemot. The pied raven, a colour morph of the North Atlantic subspecies of the common raven, was endemic to the Faroe Islands, but now has become extinct.

Only a few species of wild land mammals are found in the Faroe Islands today, all introduced by humans. Three species are thriving on the islands today: Mountain hare; Lepus timidus, brown rat, Rattus norvegicus, and the house mouse; Mus musculus. Apart from these, there is a local domestic sheep breed, the Faroe sheep (depicted on the coat of arms), and there once was a variety of feral sheep, which survived on Lítla Dímun until the mid-nineteenth century.

Grey seals; Halichoerus grypus are common around the shorelines. Several species of cetacea live in the waters around the Faroe Islands. Best known are the long-finned pilot whales; Globicephala melaena, which still are hunted by the islanders in accordance with longstanding local tradition. Orcas; Orcinus orca are regular visitors around the islands.

7/8 2020.

Photos   Map & Plan   Diary 1  2  3  4