Boat magazine goes to the Faroe Islands

by Grace Wang in February 2017
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Outdoors Travel

We’re long-time fans of Boat magazine, the travel title that relocates to a new city for each issue. Once they’re there, they set up studios and scout for the most interesting local talent to collaborate with. The result is something very different to usual travel mags; one that tells authentic and unique stories from all corners of the world.

This issue sees the team set up camp in the Faroe Islands, a place that demands a slower pace. “This is what an hour feels like,” editor Erin Spens says in her opening letter; “60 full minutes of 60 whole seconds each, just handed over to you… Use them however you want. I suspect you’ll breathe deeper, talk less, slow down, see more.” We asked Erin to introduce us to some key features of the issue.


1. Gudrun & Gudrun, knitwear made by local women using Faroese wool

“Gudrun & Gudrun were thrown into the spotlight when the character Sarah Lund wore one of their sweaters on the TV show The Killing. It was the right sweater at the right time and the story behind it is fantastic. We wanted to tell this success story: a fashion line in the Faroe Islands with international attention and acclaim — not something you’d expect! It’s even better when you’re there and get to see all the shaggy sheep everywhere.”


2. The driftwood houses of the island

“One of the things that’s really striking about the Faroe Islands is the lack of trees, and given how long the islands have been inhabited (evidence shows people were there as early as the year 400) we absolutely had to get to the bottom of how they built and heated their houses. Astonishingly, much of the early wood they used was driftwood they collected at the end of the strong currents that flow around the islands. Digging into the history of building in the Faroes, we realised that there were so many ingenious techniques they developed to sustain life there from so early on and for so long, and there are some architects who still use those techniques today in a more modern way.”

boat-magazine-12-mykinesPhoto by Adrian Morris

3. Kristian Blak, classical, jazz, pop, folk multi-instrumentalist

“Kristian Blak is the most famous musician on the Faroe Islands. He’s classically trained and — what we were interested in – holds classical concerts in caves carved out by the ocean along the coastline. He believes in the natural environment influencing the way music sounds in a place, so took the music back out into nature. He’s a fascinating man — we had to meet him!”

4. The Faroese Fighter Karin Kjølbro

“Karin (below, right, being interviewed by Erin) is one of the Faroe Islands’ original feminists and fought her whole life for equality in the Faroe Islands. She was one of the first two women in politics who, along with gender equality, also fought for the rights of the mentally disabled. For such a small population (there are just under 50,000 people in the Faroe Islands) it was inspiring to see a woman who dedicated her life to these big causes on a local scale. She’s seeing the benefits of her work now with great legislation being passed and more women entering politics.”

boat-magazine-12-erin-spensPhoto by Rachel Jonas

5. The coolest bar on the island, Sirkus

“If you’re looking for a drink in the capital, Torshavn, everyone will tell you to go straight to Sirkus. It’s a warm, wonderful bar run by one of my favourite people I met in the Faroe Islands, Sunneva Eysturstein. She has a real desire to create a home for the wallflowers and misfits of society and you can feel it in the bar. It’s created a local family of its own.”

6. Some glimpses of the island

boat-magazine-12-eli-thor“Elli Thor Magnusson diving for seaweed” by Rachel Jonas boat-magazine-12-whale“Trondur cutting whale blubber for us to eat” by Rachel Jonas boat-magazine-12-heider“Heidar Logi driving the camper van” by Elli Thor Magnusson

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