I felt a little anxious leaving my spot on the grass. Having watched the clouds close in I knew where things were, namely the 200m drop. The beautiful village of Gásadalur is surrounded by mountains on three sides, and this inaccessibility is its charm. Within moments I didn’t even know where I had come from as I hauled myself up higher, but so long as I kept my course as straight as possible then the edge would be a safe distance away. This didn’t stop it from feeling a little suicidal, though.
As this feeling started to get the better of me a dark shape emerged through the fog. It was a cairn! The first I had seen on this route. Okay, one step at a time; if just reached it then I could decide what to do next. It didn’t take long, and once there I noticed a path running alongside it – an actual path! – the only one I had seen on my hikes in the Faroes (at best I had followed sheep trails). A path was child’s play after everything I had done, so I followed it with no fear.
The land had also levelled out and I walked leisurely along. Cairns appeared regularly out of the fog. It seemed like no coincidence that one would appear just as I lost sight of the previous one. Up there it was deathly quiet, my steps loud, cumbersome, and out of place. But soon the voices grew louder again.
Having walked through the fog for some time, I was not at all prepared for what I was about to see:
“Oh my god” is my phrase of the Faroe Islands. I’ve never been to a place where I just stopped in my tracks and uttered or even shouted it quite so many times. And this view was one of the best of all.
In many ways I would have been happy to turn around and make my way back (as the people I had followed did), but I knew how beautiful Gasadalur was and I couldn’t wait to see it any longer. The way down was undoubtedly steep, but I could see the same path snaking along. A path was child’s play, of course.
It wasn’t. It was steep and rocky, with lots of loose stones that slid from under my feet. I used my tripod as a walking stick and remembered that patience was everything; I had too much camera equipment on my back to risk doing anything brash.
Progress was slow and steady, but eventually the rocks turned to grass and the steep sides flattened out. Finally I hit the ground, right next to a sign about the route. Rapture! I had to take a photo.
Gasadalur is even more beautiful in real life than in the photos, which can never truly give you the sense of calm and scale of the valley. Small numbers of tourists consistently came and left quite quickly (though I was pleasantly surprised at the number of professional-looking photographers around – in fact it was the most I have ever seen on holiday in one place). I spent a long time there messing around with different exposures and compositions…
And before long, the sun came out, sending shafts of light across the land. Just “oh my god”.
I also made a short video about this hike (the first of my experiments with film), which you can watch here:
The clouds burnt away entirely and the evening was beautiful. It couldn’t have been any more perfect. I didn’t have the energy to walk back over the mountain that evening, even though I knew the view would be amazing. So I hitchhiked through the tunnel that links Gásadalur to the rest of the world with a fellow hiker.
I got off near Bøur. I dipped my toes in that familiar cold dark water and watched the sun sink behind the mountains. Pure bliss. I thought of all the places in the world, including those that were considerably hotter, sunnier and drier, and knew that there was nowhere else I would have rather been.
The water did wonders for my tired feet (which had by this point endured seven days of hiking), and I dawdled back towards Sørvágur. During this time I was treated to probably the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen, and indeed the first sunset I had seen in the Faroes.
Being so far north, this sunset lasted for hours. The colours gradually changed from warm oranges to cool blues and purples, and the light slowly faded. I felt like I was walking through a dream – it was simply out of this world.
I got back to my B&B at about 11.30pm, and by the side of the mountain I had climbed hours before there was still a brilliant orange glow. I had a feeling that this glow would remain on the horizon all night.