05/2019 // Max Draeger
Shred on the sheep islands
A bike adventure in the north atlantic
If you go by boat from Denmark to Iceland, you will inevitably land in Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands. If you want, you can extend your stay from one night to one week and explore the North Atlantic island archipelago a little more. That’s what we wanted to do. And we had our mountain bikes. So why not jump into the adventure and explore the lush green slopes of the island?
There’s a reason the slopes are green: On the Faroe Islands it rains 300 days a year. Not the best conditions for a bike trip. This leads to washed out paths, swampy meadows and long stretches of road. These are all things you don't like as a mountain biker. But we like real adventures and picture book views.
The islands and the just over 50,000 inhabitants are still spared from mass tourism. That's good for an adventure, but a look at the map and a few minutes of internet research make it clear that mountain biking isn’t very popular there yet. Information about trails is virtually non-existent and even marked hiking trails are rare. If you are looking for a relaxed bike trip with shuttles, trail maps and a place to wash your bike, you won't be happy here.
So our motto is: Trail’n’Error! "If you look for it, you’ll find it"- as they always say and indeed you will find what you are looking for as a mountain biker on the Faroe Islands - at least if you can cope with washed-out paths, swampy meadows and the fluctuating weather. Of course, you’ll have to carry yourself uphill. What’s the reward for all this drudgery? Lots of adventures and trails with fabulous views.
For anyone who dares to go on this kind of trip, we recommend the ascent to the pass between Saksun and Tjørnuvík on the main island Streymoy. We found a really nice trail and that's exactly how we imagined mountain biking on the Faroe Islands: Flowing trails that meander their way down lush green slopes and offer breathtaking views of beautiful bays and cliffs.
Another tip is the descent from the highest mountain of the archipelago, Slættaratindur, which has a summit structure that isn’t suitable for cycling, but below it there are some beautiful depths. In the fall line the 880 meter high mountain delivers a rapid descent.
On the island of Vágar there were some very photogenic surprises for me as a photographer: Here the cliffs of Trælanípa drop steeply into the sea and provide you with plenty of adrenaline when you’re looking over the handlebars or through the camera lens. Adrenaline and good pictures – what more could you ask for!
Sometimes just the pictures are enough for me: for example one I took of the Múlafossur waterfall. The most famous postcard view, which can be found next to the village of Gásadalur, was only connected to the outside world by a tunnel at the beginning of the 21st century. It is hard to imagine that in the past there was only a hiking trail available here as an alternative to flying in by helicopter. We were able to arrive by car and I got to take the shots I wanted. The trip alone was worth it. For mountain biking, I would only recommend the Faroe Islands to a limited extent, since you have to enjoy hiking there. Even with the bike. But we didn't regret the trip for a second - and now we’re even a little in love with the islands.