Thursday, September 28, 2023

Climbing on the Puffin Island of Mykines

All through my grownup life, I’ve made a aware effort to go someplace completely different yearly. Whether or not or not it’s a far-flung nook on the opposite facet of the world or an off-the-grid seashore just a few hours’ drive from residence, the vacation spot is rarely as essential as following by way of on the selection. Name it a lifelong dedication to curiosity.

The latest manifestation of this multi-decade pact was a visit to the Nordic area. The primary cease on the journey was a distant and rainswept island chain by the title of Faroe……….

Just a few hours after arriving within the Faroes, I caught a day ferry to Mykines, the westernmost island of the archipelago. Amongst these readily available to greet me was a circus of the outpost’s most well-known residents. With their black and white plumage, rotund little our bodies, waddling gait, and seasonally colourful beaks and ft, puffins appear to be a cross between a toucan and a penguin. Nonetheless, don’t be fooled by their comical look. Puffins are unimaginable flyers and swimmers – when sufficiently motivated (i.e., when they’re hungry or at risk), they will transfer as much as 88 km (54.7 mi) an hour within the air and dive right down to 60 m (197 ft) beneath the ocean’s floor.

Mykines has round 40 homes, solely six of that are occupied all 12 months spherical. It has a church, store/restaurant, seasonal guesthouse, a spotless public toilet, and 11 everlasting residents. Throughout my time there, I arrange camp by a stream overlooking the island’s namesake (and solely) village.

MLD Duomid, meandering stream, and turf-roofed cottages.

Mykines village

The village church

Yours actually wandering across the surrounding hills throughout my first afternoon on the island.

“Alright, sufficient with the preambles, what concerning the mountaineering?”

There are two essential rambling choices on Mykines (GPS Knowledge). The out-and-back path to the lighthouse (aka Mykineshólmur Path) and the longer loop hike to the island’s excessive level of Knúkur (560 m/1,837 ft). I want I might let you know that each excursions went off with out a hitch. Alas, that may be unfaithful on a number of fronts.

First up, the Mykineshólmur Path. Measuring 5.3 km and taking a median of two to a few hours to finish, that is the island’s signature path and the one which’s tackled by most guests. Sadly, for the previous couple of years, the westernmost part of the trail (which incorporates the lighthouse) has been inaccessible attributable to a landslide. 

I used to be conscious of the closure earlier than I arrived, so I wasn’t too bummed. In case you’re questioning what the Mykines lighthouse appears like, right here’s a pic from Wikimedia Commons.

Mykines and Mykinesholmur Faroe Islands” / 16 June, 2008 / By Erik Christensen (CC BY-SA 4.0)

In its place, I parked myself on the cliff’s edge and spent a few hours observing puffins and listening to the North Atlantic Ocean (Enjoyable truth: In the course of the spring mating season, puffins’ beaks and ft rework from boring gray to hanging orange, making them extra engaging to potential suitors (and snap-happy vacationers). As soon as they discover a mate, puffins are often monogamous, going again to the identical companion each breeding season for as much as twenty years (the common life span of puffins)). 

When it was ultimately time to maneuver on, I headed eastwards. Throughout my stroll, I handed by geese and sheep and soaked in some unimaginable sea cliff vistas.

By the point I returned to the village, it was getting late and had began to rain. Over the following 18 hours, it completely belted down and was windier than an AYCE bean buffet. Nonetheless, upon waking the next morning, I packed up my stuff and headed east to Knúkur, the rooftop of Mykines.

What have been my impressions of the Knúkur path? The “Shark Sandwich” evaluation from “That is Spinal Faucet” involves thoughts.

On the rooftop of Mykines

Jokes and film analogies apart, I nonetheless loved myself regardless of seeing bugger all.

Sure, the climate was lower than stellar, however I used to be heat and dry(ish) due to my fleece/rain jacket combo. And I used to be mountaineering in a spot I had dreamed of visiting for greater than three a long time. As I’ve written on this web site earlier than, for those who spend sufficient time within the boonies over sufficient years, meteorologically talking, issues have a means of night themselves out. There’s no level moaning and what-iffing. Simply be sure you have the proper gear and the flexibility to have a chuckle within the face of adversity.

By the point circumstances cleared late within the afternoon, I had a ferry to catch again to Sørvágur. Over my subsequent week within the Faroes, issues improved significantly on the climate entrance. Nonetheless, reflecting on these preliminary days, I wouldn’t change a factor. I had the privilege of observing numerous puffins with nobody else round, and being buffeted by wind and rain appeared climatically acceptable for a starkly stunning place with an “fringe of the world” really feel. All in all, a superb begin to the journey.

For detailed info on Mykines, see the superb Go to Vagar web site.

Leaving Mykines, from the place it’s a 45-minute boat trip again to Sørvágur.




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