A Story of Hiking in the Faroe Islands
When the fog rolls in on the Faroe Islands.
** Edit: This is a story republished from 2017. I’ve been asked how to get to Faroe Islands a lot since taking a month-long trip there in the fall of 2017. This story should give you a good idea and a good place to start your Faroe Islands itinerary and things to do in Faroe Islands.
My recommendation is to stay on Vagar island because of the Faroe Islands hiking trails marked there. Check out the end of this story for the perfect accommodation I found in Vagar Faroe Islands! **
We were stuck; nowhere to go and my impatience quickly growing. My friend, Kim, had ditched her backpack. She left it with me at the last trace of a cairn (traditional-styled trail-marker in Faroe). She was hiking around aimlessly like a chicken with its head cut off on Vagar island.
The densest fog I’ve ever experienced had rolled in in the blink of an eye and we lost the direction of the trail.
As I sat at the cairn, waiting for Kim to return, I was growing cold and restless. I couldn’t leave the cairn because we had already lost our location once. We couldn’t afford enough time to lose ourselves again.
My body started to shut down. I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder from a night on a cold, concrete bathroom floor the night before. Without direction and full of pessimism, my pack was weighing on me.
Kim was presumably taking the opportunity without gear to run about. Climb rocks and hop creeks — things like that. Taking on the unknown for fun. Meanwhile, I started to feel the sweat on my shirt cool my entire core.
What used to be an other-worldly experience created by the dense fog, gave off a moon-like eerie atmosphere. Now, it became quite worrisome.
What if the fog never rolled out? With only a soaked and torn tourist map that provided little attention to detail, we didn’t know what kind of challenge the rest of the day ahead of us held.
Kim had wandered so far that, now, I wasn’t even getting a response as I called her name. It was like a wild game of mountain Marco Polo that was headed on a fast track for disaster.
Now Let’s Rewind
Rewind a few hours, to the moment I woke up that morning. I had just spent the night in a small public bathroom, hiding from the extreme rain and wind, sleeping on the un-giving concrete floor.
We had no food left. Our gas-cooker was running low even if we had food. The public bathroom was on the edge of the tiny village of Gasadalur — miles away from the nearest market. The village’s only café was closed for the winter. Our only option was to get to the other side of the mountain where we had food and shelter at one of my favorite hostels I’ve ever been in. We would have to conserve all of the energy we could to go on for the rest of the day.
Trouble Early On in Vagar Faroe Islands
Immediately, we took a wrong turn which led us off path early on. Kim and I were forced to cross a marshy stretch of open farmland where we came face-to-face with two angry-looking, long-haired Highland Bulls. This is going to sound ridiculous, but both looked poised to ferociously charge us. We proceeded cautiously as Kim nervously rehearsed her “if-so” plan out loud. They stood their ground, with their sharp horns that seemed to be three feet long, coercing us into walking right through them.
Right as I thought we had made it through safely; right as I was close enough I could hear every breath they took; right as we locked eyes like two cowboys in an old western shootout; the bull to the left of me took a short step backwards; almost as if he was giving himself more space to gain momentum.
Suddenly, the beast charged, head down, horns out ̶ straight toward us. Thump, thump, thump ̶ even on the soft ground, his ungraceful gallop was as loud as my heartbeat.
Kim immediately ditched her “if-so” plan as she let out a short shriek and dashed to catch up with me ten-feet ahead. He was charging closer and even I couldn’t come up with a way to avoid him. If he wasn’t going to stop, we were about to take a beating.
But, as I sit and write this story, you must be aware that the mammoth Highland Bull didn’t kill me. Matter of fact, he didn’t even touch us. Instead, he continued at full speed only three feet to the side of us onto his partner still at our opposite side. Together they galloped away ̶ probably just as scared as we were.
Climbing the Goddamn Mountain of Vagar Island
Soon after, we reached the foot of the mountain. No higher than a 2,400-foot climb, I expected a decent climb, but nothing hell-bending as I had climbed a 14,000-foot mountain earlier in the year. However, I underestimated the grade of the incline. We climbed fast, unknowing of what the rest of the day would bring ̶ we didn’t want to be stuck without food for too much longer.
We were nearing the peak before noon; or, at least, what we thought was the peak.
We had reached the top right when a dense fog was rolling over the island. We were warned and prepared for this. Locals had cautioned us about this. Faroe is infamous for its thick fog in the mountains. Sometimes so dense that it becomes impossible to see even 30-feet ahead; making it impossible to follow a lightly-treaded path.
The locals in Gasadalur warned us that when the fog rolls in ̶ and it will roll in ̶ our best strategy would be to take a seat where we were, wait five minutes, and soon it’d clear out. So that’s what we did. We found a large cairn that seemed to mark the top of the mountain and we waited. . . Five minutes. . . Twenty minutes. . . Forty-five minutes. . . The fog was still there and we were getting impatient.
“It’s just fog,” I believe is what one of us said. So, we went against our warning and ventured into the unknown.
It didn’t take long before we were hopelessly lost. Kim had ditched her bag which I mentioned earlier, and she had gotten herself so far away from me that we could no longer communicate vocally. Right away, I thought the worst — Kim had gotten herself trapped or lost and was now walking in the wrong direction trying to find me. It was finally time that I cheated. Things were getting too dangerous. I pulled out my compass that I had regrettably kept secret from Kim. I wanted a sense of exploration so I vowed I wouldn’t use it even in the worst scenario. However, my frustration level had exceeded an enjoyable exploration experience and I was thoroughly done with being stranded atop a mountain. Surely a compass could guide us down safely. Just as I did that, I saw a brightly-colored blur approaching out of the fog. It was Kim in her familiar red jacket. She saw me using the compass but was adamant that we needed to disregard its direction and follow her instinct. She had seen something optimistic in her exploration and wanted to try to guide us back to it. Ready to blame her when things went awry, I was forced to defer. So we began climbing the mountain — and climbing, and climbing. It turns out, we were nowhere near the peak. I noticed Kim started to get a little hesitant about her direction, too. She had become confused about her instincts and started to fret. My frustration was ready to explode, but just before it could — another cairn. We had found the path.
Getting Down the Goddamn Mountain of Vagar Island
By some miracle, we were back on the path, but by no means had we figured ourselves out up there. Our map showed us little-to-nothing in regards to what was to come. The fog had not retreated. We were a little warmer now after climbing an additional five-hundred feet, but I was still drenched in sweat. We had reached a point where it seemed plausible that the path could go in any direction. We had followed Kim’s instinct to that point, and it seemed like we would have to rely on it to get down.
She began balancing the edge of a cliff. It was a frightening sight as I stood and waited my turn. She was such a small girl with a large backpack ̶ even the slightest wind could blow her off-balanced and tumble down the mountain. I knew this couldn’t possibly be the right direction; it was far too dangerous.
Frantically, I scanned our surroundings. There wasn’t a chance I was going to walk that ledge without needing to. I was looking for any possible trace of ANYTHING resembling a trail.
From a distance, I saw a sorry excuse of a possible cairn that would allow us to put-off the narrow ledge dance. I told Kim to wait on the ledge while I investigated it ̶ an impossibly intelligent thing to ask of someone.
When I got closer, I determined it was good enough for me to claim as our next cairn. I hollered at Kim to join me on our supposed trail.
Sure, enough, one long, slippery slope later, we were on our way down the mountain on a safe path. We had made it. We had navigated Faroe Islands hiking trails and managed a good Faroe Islands itinerary full of hiking.
Luckily, we wouldn’t be sleeping in another bathroom that night. Instead, we stayed in one of the most comfortable hostel atmospheres I’ve ever experienced.
Vagar Faroe Islands: A Sponsored Post Turned into a Friendship
Now, I’ll admit, I’ve never had any experience with sponsored travel. Not a single night in a hotel, not a single free tour, not a single free bus ride ̶ up until this point in my travels, I’ve paid for everything out of my own pocket with the help of a few travel hacks.
I was unsure whether I wanted to go down the road of sponsored traveling. I’ve built solid credibility with my readers, and I didn’t want to put that in jeopardy with the introduction of sponsored posts and photos.
However, the sad reality is, sustainable long-term travel isn’t a reality. I can’t afford to keep living the lifestyle I’ve lived for the past three years without changing something. I already travel with extreme budgets and make giant sacrifices while on the road.
I was forced to give-in to sponsored travel for my trip to the Faroe Islands ̶ the most expensive country I’ve ever been to. Luckily, I ran into some completely fortunate luck with a very good guy.
Giljanes Hostel, Vagar Faroe Islands
I met Kristjan, the owner of Giljanes, on my first day in Faroe. I was instantly relieved of all negative feelings of the situation. He helped me plan a Faroe Islands itinerary and let me in on a cheaper way how to get to Faroe Islands by ferry to Faroe Islands. He pointed out all the Faroe Islands hiking trails on a map and gave me a list of other things to do in Faroe Islands — most of them being right on Vagar island.
Over the course of the month, I used Giljanes on Vagar island as a ‘home-base’, if you will. I cycled through at several points throughout the month in Vagar Faroe Islands. After a few days of camping and covering all of Faroe Islands hiking trails, I’d come back to Giljanes for a few days of rest and recovery until I found more things to do in Faroe Islands.
While I was there for a month, I started to feel at home in Giljanes Vagar Faroe Islands Hostel. As other guests would come and go, I was fortunate to meet a lot of great people all over the world and hear what was on their Faroe Islands itinerary.
There is always something going on at Giljanes Vagar Faroe Islands. Whether it’s a water-balloon toss outside on the front lawn, a bonfire with a guitar sing-along, or a simple card game; it’s impossible not to meet people while you’re there.
Vagar Faroe Islands: The Right Guy for the Job
Kristjan took over the hostel of Vagar Faroe Islands only several months before I arrived and has made dramatic improvements to it already. Doing most of the work himself, you’ll be extremely surprised by how organized and on-top of things he’s able to remain. Yet, he’s never too busy to have a conversation with all of his guests in the common room at night and help each and every one with their Faroe Islands itinerary.
In my opinion, the way he interacts with everyone ̶ asking them about their day, giving them helpful tips, and genuinely trying to connect with guests is what differentiates Kristjan’s hostel from other hostels on the island. It builds an atmosphere second-to-none. It makes it the perfect place where to stay in Faroe Islands.
I am so glad to include my experience at Giljanes Vagar Faroe Islands Hostel in this post because it was truly a large, positive part of my experience. Not to mention, Kristjan is the type of person that you genuinely want to help out. He’s extremely personable.
I give my highest recommendation to stay at Giljanes Vagar Faroe Islands Hostel when traveling. There are not enough good things to say about the work Kristjan has done. It is true that this started as a sponsored post, but I’d like to think it has evolved into one friend helping out another. I’d like to thank Kristjan for all of his hospitality while I was in Faroe.
To book your stay, visit his website. If you’d like to know how to get to Faroe Islands, just shoot me an email! I can find you the best deal on how to get to Faroe Islands.
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** This article was originally published at www.adamcheshier.com **