It is Day 4 of our week-long trip to the Faroe Islands, and time for what is often a high point for every visit to this country: a day trip to Kalsoy and a hike to the famous lighthouse at its northern tip Kallur. A dramatic photo of the lighthouse, perched high on the rugged seacliffs surrounded by crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean, would surely justify a trip to these remote islands, despite the considerable cost and effort.
Kalsoy island, nicknamed “The Flute”, is long and slender and the westernmost of the Faroe’s Northern Isles. It is accessible by a short commuter ferry ride from Klaksvík harbour – the ferry runs frequently so there is no need to worry if it happens to be full (usually during peak tourist season in the summer months).
There is a single one-lane road that runs the length of the island, joining its four villages and combined population of less than 150 residents. The ferry disembarks at the southern village of Syðradalur where we start our northbound journey.
We make a brief stop at Mikladalur village and visit the statue of the Seal-Woman (Kopakonan), or selkie, a famous local legend:
Seals were believed to be former humans who voluntarily sought death in the ocean. Once a year, on Twelfth Night, they were allowed to come on land, strip off their skins and amuse themselves as human beings, dancing and enjoying themselves.
A young farmer from the town of Mikladalur on Kalsoy island goes to the beach to watch the selkies dance. He hides the skin of a beautiful selkie maid, so she cannot go back to sea, and forces her to marry him. He keeps her skin in a chest, and keeps the key with him both day and night. One day when out fishing, he discovers that he has forgotten to bring his key. When he returns home, the selkie wife has escaped back to sea, leaving their children behind. Later, when the farmer is out on a hunt, he kills both her selkie husband and two selkie sons, and she promises to take revenge upon the men of Mikladalur. Some shall be drowned, some shall fall from cliffs and slopes, and this shall continue, until so many men have been lost that they will be able to link arms around the whole island of Kalsoy, there are still occasional deaths occurring in this way on the island. [Wikipedia]
Continuing further north, we reach the village of Trøllanes, a tiny farming community and the location of the trailhead to Kallur. While there are no official trail markers, the path (and procession of tourist hikers) is easy to follow, and soon the famous lighthouse can be spotted on the horizon. The view from the top is sure to take your breath away, but for the full experience, continue on the narrow path out to the promontory for a look back at the famous vista. The knife-edged path is very narrow – just enough for only one person at a time – with steep drop-offs on both sides. Probably not a good idea to attempt during strong winds and rain; a mistake here would surely be your last, a victim of the Seal-Woman’s curse!