Standing on top of Stóra Dímun, looking down. We have just climbed up an almost vertical 150 meters sea cliff, a rough path of ladders, grassy slopes and ropes. „It’s a rare occasion“, Birgir Enni, skipper of the schooner Norðlýsið, has told me on the phone. „You’ll never forget that day.“
Bright sunshine, wind blowing in the right direction, 9.5 knots, sailing under canvas from Tórshavn to Stóra Dímun. Coordinates: 61° 41' 49" N, 6° 44' 56" W. Population: 7. Access: exclusively by helicopter – usually. We approach the island in a dinghy, bird-commotion all over the steep face next to us. Off we go! First task: managing an obstacle course. Boulder-jumping, to be more precise. Next: climbing up polished volcanic rock with the help of a rope. After that: the slope, clinging to tufts of grass, up and up, stepping in old puffin burrows.
This route used to be the only way on to this island – provided that the North Atlantic happened to be in a good mood, allowing small boats into the narrow inlet. One path up, same path down. A place steeped in history: Stóra Dímun, already mentioned in the Færeyinga Saga, written shortly after 1200 in Iceland. One episode is about the powerful brothers Brestir and Beinir. Quarrel, revenge and a story without happy ending: Brestir and Beinir got murdered, right here on Stóra Dímun.
It’s a good thing that circumstances are different this time. Birgir’s hands have carried backpacks up the steep sea cliff. Inside: everything one needs for a feast in front of the local farmers’ house. Freshly made potato salad. Salmon and cod. Sandwich ingredients. And greens. Sit down on one of those wooden benches. Grilled fish? Or how about some waffles, rhubarb compote, creme and hot coffee? Not to mention the sensational view, with one eye on Lítla Dímun. Birgir was absolutely right. Our trip to Stóra Dímun – a day to be remembered.
Travelling to Faroe Islands? Make sure you go on a trip with Norðlýsið. The skipper on Facebook: Birgir Enni