On the edge of the world
Day 1: Sørvágsvatn, Trælanípa & Bøsdalafossur
Where do you start when trying to show something of the most amazing photo trip you've ever been on? At the beginning, of course.
And why not, when the trip began in as epic a manner as this. Straight off the plane near midnight and, after dropping our bags off, we headed on at 45 minute hike at around 2.00 am (in the twilight, of course - it doesn't get dark in the Faroes at this time of year) for one of the locations that I most wanted to see: the optical mind twister that is Sorvagsvatn Lake.
We hiked around the lake with our vantage point in view of Traelanipa. And, as we got close, the sheer awe-inspiring scale of the cliff face came into view - 150m of solid basalt, spewed out 60 million years ago, now standing proud against the relentless pounding of the cold, dark Altantic Ocean below.
The views from back up the slope were amazing. But I knew that only one vantage point would allow me to appreciate the full majesty of this location - right at the very edge of the cliff.
I slowly eased myself down to it, picking my footing very carefully indeed. The closer I got, the more and more of the ocean below came into view, until finally, I saw this.
Quite honestly, it is simply one of the most incredible natural wonders I have ever laid my eyes on. There was the lake, suspended above the ocean, with the waves excavating out into the cliff face below it, as if to find a way to drain the waters into the seas below.
But, little did we know, the view wasn't finished with us. A good two hours after sunrise, which itself had been mostly hidden by the Faroese clouds we would come to know and love over the next few days, a chink in the clouds threatened to appear to our east. The air was moist with a light drizzle that was about to arrive at our location. If the clouds would only open, then the light would go wild.
But would it? Could we be that fortunate? Apparently so!
We would have danced the dance of joy, if only for our precarious positions! Instead,. we busied ourselves with the task of trying to encapture something of the awe-inspiring view ahead of us.
Not long after, the light subsided, we captured a few more shots, then headed on the long hike back after our first all-nighter on these amazing islands, tired but extremely happy.
As that glorious light began to fade and as we tried to come to terms with the amazing conjuction of location and light that we had just managed to witness on our first morning on the Faroes, the wonderful location of Sorvagsvatn had one more thing to offer us before we headed back to our cabin and some much needed sleep. For this impossibole lake needs to flow into the sea somewhere. But where?
Off we set for its western end, and to yet more rugged Faroese slopes, to the first of many, many waterfalls we saw on the islands: Bosdalafossur. There are few beaches on the Faroes; most of the coastlines are rugged cliffs of volcanic basalt, rising up proudly out of the Atlantic Ocean that is constantly nipped at their heels. This means that the mouths of the rivers lie well above the sea, sometimes hundreds of feet.
As we approached this one, the dark, brooding clouds that had just brought us that amazing light were still hanging to the north. Much as, on reflection, I loved the unexpectedly good weather we had we were there, I'm glad that we had cloud for this location. The stormy seas below and the blanket of cloud above seemed the perfect context for this rugged location; the cliffs and the sea stack seemed to cry out for a dramatic setting, as if to acknowledge their resilient stand againts the relentless elements.
And so would begin the photo trip of a life time, taking us all around the incredible Faroe Islands and to some of its most stunning of locations. Come, join me in the following blogs as I take you with us on our journey. And perhaps you will fall in love with these islands nearly as much as I have done...