Friday, June 14, 2024

Mountaineering on the Puffin Island of Mykines

All through my grownup life, I’ve made a acutely aware effort to go someplace completely different yearly. Whether or not it’s a far-flung nook on the opposite aspect of the world or an off-the-grid seaside a couple of hours’ drive from residence, the vacation spot is rarely as vital as following via 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……….

A couple of 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 toes, puffins seem like a cross between a toucan and a penguin. Nevertheless, don’t be fooled by their comical look. Puffins are unbelievable flyers and swimmers – when sufficiently motivated (i.e., when they’re hungry or in peril), they’ll transfer as much as 88 km (54.7 mi) an hour within the air and dive all the way down to 60 m (197 ft) under 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 rest room, 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 really wandering across the surrounding hills throughout my first afternoon on the island.

“Alright, sufficient with the preambles, what in regards to the climbing?”

There are two foremost rambling choices on Mykines (GPS Information). 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 inform you that each excursions went off and not using a hitch. Alas, that will be unfaithful on a number of fronts.

First up, the Mykineshólmur Path. Measuring 5.3 km and taking a mean of two to 3 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 as a result of 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 seems to be 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)

As a substitute, I parked myself on the cliff’s edge and spent a few hours observing puffins and listening to the North Atlantic Ocean (Enjoyable truth: Through the spring mating season, puffins’ beaks and toes remodel from boring gray to placing orange, making them extra enticing to potential suitors (and snap-happy vacationers). As soon as they discover a mate, puffins are often monogamous, going again to the identical accomplice 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 unbelievable 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” evaluate 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 climbing 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, when you spend sufficient time within the boonies over sufficient years, meteorologically talking, issues have a method of night themselves out. There’s no level moaning and what-iffing. Simply be sure to have the fitting gear and the power to have a chuckle within the face of adversity.

By the point situations 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. Nevertheless, reflecting on these preliminary days, I wouldn’t change a factor. I had the privilege of observing a number of puffins with nobody else round, and being buffeted by wind and rain appeared climatically applicable for a starkly stunning place with an “fringe of the world” really feel. All in all, begin to the journey.

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

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




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