Our friends at ƒ/8 Workshops take photographers and adventurers off the beaten path to places that even the well-traveled seldom step foot. And there are few paths less beaten than the Faroe Islands, a small isolated subpolar archipelago that sits midway between Iceland and Scotland.
While evidence suggests that the Faroe Islands had earlier occupants, the first recorded settlers were the Norse around the year 800. From that point on, the Faroes have remained sparsely inhabited and relatively quiet, with the exception of a handful of Norwegian kings sporadically coming in and beheading non-Christians.
The result is a unique language (they speak Faroese), a proprietary currency, and a tightly knit traditional culture nestled among a breathtaking group of jagged islands that are so small and remote, being there almost feels like you’re just floating in the middle of the North Atlantic.
Whale slaughter in the Faroe Islands has been a community tradition for hundreds of years. We at Peak Design, along with the folks who comprised this photo essay, are committed environmentalists. By sharing this Field Note, we most certainly do not condone this practice. Here’s what we will say.
1. Learn about the history of whaling in the Faroe Islands.
2. Do not project the actions of a few onto an entire country or culture.
3. Join an organization dedicated to protecting marine habitats. We work closely with Save The Waves. But there are many more organizations out there, and they would love your help in taking action.
We promote awareness, understanding, and action, and not condemnation of an entire country or people. The Faroe Islands are awe-inspiring, the Faroese are a fascinating culture, and that’s what this Field Note story is all about.
Meet Conor MacNeill (@thefella), Greg Annandale (@greg_a), and Zoë Timmers (@zobolondon). Together, they set the itinerary and pace for the workshops, ensuring participants were getting everything they could out of the experience.
Why the Faroe Islands? Aside from being gorgeous, and relatively undiscovered by the mainstream traveler, the Faroes are surprisingly easy to get to. Sure, there’s just one airline that’ll fly you there, and one tiny airfield to land at. But from London it’s nothing more than a few hours flight time via Copenhagen.
Puffin Penguins are an icon of the Faroe Islands. They live in other subpolar environments, but nowhere else do they nest in such concentrate as they do on the Faroe Island of Mykines.
Because they are so small, the Faroes impart little influence on the maritime weather. Hence, they’re always at the mercy of the volatile North Atlantic. Days often go from perfectly blue sunny skies to intense wind, fog, and snow, even at sea level. In the image below, all the snow fell during the half hour it took for the crew to walk to that vantage point. It was completely gone the next day.
And about 80,000 sheep. Below depicts a typical modest home in the Faroes.
Greg put together an epic collage of drone footage. Grab a beer and go full screen.