At the edge of Faroe: Svínoy

At the edge of Faroe: Svínoy

Svínoy is a small island north east of the Faroe Islands.  There is around 8 or 10 people living there, and you have to take a ferry or helicopter to reach it. We've hoped to go there for a while, and finally the weather forecast was good enough to let us - so we took the ferry across the fjord and a stretch of open sea.

Check out the Let's Go Slow video from out visit to Svínoy

Isolated island in the north

Ólavur Hattun is the main character in Faroetale. He was born and raised on Svínoy, where his father worked as a teacher until Ólavur was 7 years old. This was naturally an important reason as to why we wanted to go to Svínoy, but this northern island has been tempting us to visit for quite some time. There is something romantic with the northern islands on Faroe, where they are isolated by the surging seas.

 Mark doing sound recordings at the west harbour in Svínoy

Mark doing sound recordings at the west harbour in Svínoy

Two piers are better than one

We have seen Svínoy before when filming on the neighboring island Vidoy. From there you can catch a glimpse of the lonely island in the sea. When you first see the island in the distance it looks a lot like a huge rock - alone, with its large mountains that plunge into the deep blue. But when the ferry from Hvannasund finally approached the dock at Svínoy, we could see the beautiful valley that almost split the island in two. In this lovely valley you find farms and houses, like a small oasis between huge rocks and stormy seas. The settlements on Svínoy are located in this valley. This division of the island has always been a blessing for Svínoy. If the weather was bad and the waves were too big to go ashore on the west side, they could sail around the island and disembark on the other side. This unique opportunity made Svínoy a very successful fishing village in times of bad weather.

 Thea filming on the east harbour, Svínoy

Thea filming on the east harbour, Svínoy

Jumping onto Svínoy

When we came ashore the first thing the boatman at the dock's said to us when we jumped on to the concrete harbour (yes we jumped ashore as the sea was not quiet enough to dock), was that the boat probably would come to fetch us on the east side, because that pier was better sheltered from the wind. So although we were not the fishermen once vital to the island, we were still grateful with the fact that this beautiful island has two harbours.

 15 minutes after we jumped from the boat and onto the pier

15 minutes after we jumped from the boat and onto the pier

Filming for Faroetale, Thea's short film about the Faroe Islands

We were primarily at Svínoy to film material for Faroetale. We began the recordings on the pier where we came ashore, then worked our way slowly but surely over the island and into the village on the other side. One of the artistic rules I've set for the filming of Faroetale is that none of the landscape images should include other people. This means that we often have to get up early or work late at night however, on Svínoy this was not a big problem, as only about 10 people live there and it turned out that everyone had decided to be indoors this Saturday.

 House on Svínoy

House on Svínoy

 A house in the little town on Svínoy

A house in the little town on Svínoy

We finally found a cuddly sheep

The village on Svínoy is very charming and the colourful houses lay close together, surrounded by beautiful mountains and grazing areas. Because most of these houses are empty, the sheep are taking over the little town. Everywhere you turn you'll see either a sheep's head protruding or a sheep's ass sneaking behind a corner. In the outskirts of this little town is where we met the winner of Faroe Island’s most social sheep competition. I even dare to say that she stood by the road just waiting for us to come and cuddle her. She especially liked to be cuddled on the ultra soft wool around her face. She closed her eyes and breathed quietly. A totally authentic snuggle sheep in other words. She was lovely. And we will try to find her equivalent in every Faroese Island from now on!

 Two "Panda Sheep" (panda seyður)

Two "Panda Sheep" (panda seyður)

 Action sheep

Action sheep

 A roaming sheep

A roaming sheep

 Cuddle sheep

Cuddle sheep

 Cuddle sheep was always too close to the camera

Cuddle sheep was always too close to the camera

 Cuddle sheep closing her eyes, enjoying her face cuddles

Cuddle sheep closing her eyes, enjoying her face cuddles

We were finally picked up by the boat in the afternoon and all in all it was a very successful adventure! After talking to Ólavur we found out that we actually managed to get his birthplace in some of the shots. And that was a very happy surprise.