It had been an amazing day on the Faroe Islands. A full day of perfect blue skies As a break from my quarterly review, I had decided to hike to the Kallur Lighthouse, near Trøllanes, a village at the northern end of the Faroese island of Kalsoy in the municipality of Klaksvík. A short but steep climb to the end of the Kalsoy island with an amazing view of the islands, the sea surrounding it and the lighthouse. A perfect day, a perfect sky, a perfect hike. Until it wasn’t. This is my story about that time I got stuck in a hail storm on The Faroe Islands.
There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.
I had been warned. As the Faroe Islands are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the weather can and will change rapidly. Sometimes even in minutes. I had experienced Mother Nature’s temper before when hiking in Greenland and especially during my Laugavegur hike in Iceland where I was caught off-guard by a snow storm. And also on my first day on the Faroe Islands, I had experienced the rapid weather changes; one moment I was watching from my window seeing perfect blue skies, within 30 minutes, it had turned into pouring rains and snow.
So, especially as I was hiking alone, and it was off-season (with a big chance of being the only or one of the few people on the trail) I had packed full emergency kit: my Garmin InReach with SOS button, extra clothing, my heavy duty rain jacket and rain pants, extra water, extra food and even an emergency blanket and hand/feet warmers.
When making my way to the ferry that would take me from Klaksvik and Kalsoy island, it was still perfect blue skies, but it was getting colder. I was happy that I had brought some extra clothing and some gloves.
“Cold, isn’t it?!”, one of the operators of the ferry yelled at me when I walked on the ferry. It was rather obvious that I was the only tourist at the boat and it was also clear that I was cold and not really accustomed yet to the Faroe weather.
So I responded one of the phrases I learned from my Nordic friends ”there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”. It made him laugh out loud and earned me a high five.
“Weather IS”, so I had learned. It might be good one moment, horrible the next. You can worry about it, but best is just prepare for the worst, hope for the best and take the weather as it comes. It had earned the Faroe Islands the nickname of the land of maybe, “Maybe good weather, maybe not, maybe rain, maybe snow”.
Photobombed by a hail storm
We arrived at Kalsoy island after a smooth ferry transfer and after a bus ride of approximately 30 minutes, I was dropped off at the final stop at Trøllanes. I was alone and started my hike up towards Kallur Lighthouse.
I had promised my kids to send some pictures of my stay at the islands, so after a few minutes I stopped to take some selfies.
Only when I looked back at my photo to see if the selfie made any sense, I saw what weather was coming my way. I had been photo bombed by a hail storm.
In the meantime, I a group of 3 had overtaken me and was a bit further up the climb. I decided to push on to higher grounds and find shelter there.
A case of mistaken identity
Part of that decision was driven by the fact that the other group was a guide with an older couple (at least, so it seemed). The fact that there was a guide with them made me decide to push on through the storm: not only the guide had decided that it was apparently safe to proceed, if things would go wrong, I would have an experienced hiker near that could help in case of trouble.
Later, it turned out it was a case of mistaken identity. It turned out it was a mom, a dad and their son from Belgium doing a day hike, without any clear hiking experience. They themselves had spotted me, thought I was an experienced local and decided based on that they would push on.
Guess I learned to double check the next time …
Being stuck in a hail storm
Meanwhile, the wind and hail had pinned me down on the flank of a ridge. With no shelter in sight and no safe way to make it back to the village, I couldn’t do much more than curl up with my rain gear, protect my head and wait for better weather to come.
More than ever, I was super happy I had brought my full rain kit and that I had recently bought a new Ortlieb Atrack waterproof backpack that not only kept all my gear dry, but was also perfect protection.
A hike worth all blood, sweat and tears
Eventually the weather cleared as fast as it had become worse. And it had been worth everything I had been through. The views were amazing. A true miracle of nature. I love the remoteness and sheer nature power of the Nordics, as seen before in Iceland and Greenland.
And although it was difficult because of the wet circumstances and wind to explore the whole area, I was able to make some stunning pictures.
So, definately visit the Kallur Lighthouse at the northern end of the Faroese island of Kalsoy, but prepare for the weather that IS. There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.