a landscape lover's blog

garden tales from a Brit at home and abroad

Faroese landscapes

Today I am delighted to introduce a guest post on the landscapes of the Faroe Islands, the archipelago that lies roughly midway between Iceland, Norway and Scotland. Its author, Jacqui Compton, was on board Cunard’s Queen Victoria when the ship made her maiden call into Torshavn, the islands’ capital.

After a week in the lush Norwegian fjords, we spent four days in Iceland, where the only indigenous tree is Betula pubescens (northern birch), an unprepossessing, scruffy, low-growing little specimen. Our first sight of the Faroe Islands showed the same dramatic scenery Iceland provided. But nothing to tempt those looking for lush plantings and, with the Faroese willow and juniper offering much the same characteristics as the maligned northern birch, it didn’t bode well.

Sailing between Faroese islands

Sailing between Faroese islands

But the capital Torshavn immediately appeals: the main trade is fishing, hence the two commercial harbours. Both retain a charm and historic appeal, and the new developments blend in well.

Traditional and modern buildings around Torshavn's habour

Traditional and modern buildings around Torshavn’s habour

A short walk takes you to Tinganes, where 19th century classical fishermen’s houses are to be found: wood-built and tarred brown or black with white painted windows under a heavy grass roof. Many now have green painted corrugated iron roofs, not good a substitute for the traditional turf. Most modern homes are more spacious, with larger windows and ordinary roof tiles.

A view of Tinganes from the harbour

A view of Tinganes from the harbour

A walk through the town, glimpsing gardens, commercial properties and government buildings, gives a clue as to the islanders’ love of sculpture and lush planting.

Faroes 15 Faroes 16 Faroes 17
At the entrance to the park of Vidalundin are two completely different works of art. Personally, I thought the two so distracted from one another, that I would have happily removed George and the Dragon. It seemed so at odds with the park, and the rest of the sculpture inside.

Two busts at the entrance to Vidalundin

Two busts at the entrance to Vidalundin

George and the Dragon

George and the Dragon

We followed a narrow path through the park, alongside a small stream, populated with mallard families. It was very peaceful and, save for a few tourists, empty.

A small lake with mallards and other water fowl.

A small lake with mallards and other water fowl.

Many areas have been left to naturalise: here, upturned tree roots full of insects.

Many areas have been left to naturalise: here, upturned tree roots full of insects.

Although it all appears very naturalistic, the park contains many sculptures, carefully placed by the curator of the Listasavn Føroya, the Faroese Art Museum, which lies at the north of Vidalundin.
Faroes 5

Faroes 6

Faroes 7

Faroes 8

And who wouldn’t want to live here?

Faroes 1

Many thanks to Jacqui for her descriptions and photographs of a land even its own tourist board describes as “a place undiscovered.”

10 comments on “Faroese landscapes

  1. sueturner31
    September 11, 2013

    really enjoyed my virtual trip thank you…

  2. little blog of happy
    September 11, 2013

    Looks like an interesting place. Love the turf roofs!

  3. Catherine Stewart
    September 12, 2013

    As it’s a long, long way from Australia and unlikely to be on my travel list anytime soon, I really appreciate this glimpse, Jacqui. Excellent sculpture placement, especially the figure in the water – except as you say those two competing pieces.

  4. Diana Studer
    September 12, 2013

    I’m enchanted by George and his dragon. Fire and fury!

  5. diversifolius
    September 13, 2013

    Thanks for the tour – and my answer to your question is – I would!

  6. Donna@Gardens Eye View
    September 15, 2013

    What a beautiful and fascinating tour.

  7. Anonymous
    September 17, 2013

    Very beautiful blog and landscapes!
    Check out this article about how the british landscapes became so famous over the world: http://pickmeuptonic.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/english-landscaping-empire-over-the-world-recognize-british-footprint-when-you-see-it/

  8. Of Gardens
    September 26, 2013

    I visited the Botanical Gardens at Reykavik last January and was surprised to discover the local flora of Iceland is all short. It is a tough horticultural climate.

  9. Malik Ashar Azeem
    October 18, 2013

    These gardens are the very beautiful they attract alot people toward it.hershey park

  10. Pingback: Abbotsbury Sub-Tropical Gardens | a landscape lover's blog

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This entry was posted on September 11, 2013 by in Parks and tagged , , , , , .

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