NEW! Faroe Islands - July
NEW! Faroe Islands - July
The Faroe Islands lie in the north Atlantic, approximately halfway between Norway and Iceland. The closest neighbours are the northern and western isles of Scotland, and Faroe's remote location, rugged and rocky terrain, volcanic geology, coastline dominated by cliffs and fascinating history makes this an exceptional place to visit.
This holiday focuses on the birdlife of the islands, but with more than a passing glance towards the history and culture of the people here, who are mainly of Norse, but with some Celtic, descent, and the dramatic geology of the islands. Overwhelmingly volcanic in origin the islands’ provide some of the most dramatic coastal scenery to be found anywhere.Our itinerary is non-intensive, but don’t underestimate the ability of the Faroes to delight and entrance – this is a lovely, relaxing holiday.
Cold Arctic currents merge with the warm Gulf Stream in the waters off the Faroes, resulting in a particularly rich food environment for nesting seabirds. During the long days of summer, the towering cliffs on the northern and western coasts shelter Guillemots, Razorbills and Kittiwakes. whilst on the grassy tops Puffins breed.
Perhaps the birding highlight will be our trip to the island of Nólsoy, which holds the largest colony of Storm Petrels in the world. We spend a night here, and after dinner visit a petrel colony and hope to see these amazing birds at close hand -- an extraordinary experience. We explore the islands in the company of seabirds and waders and we’ll see the dramatic cliffs and coastal landscapes, watch Guillemots and Razorbills and look out for Arctic Skuas stealing food from Kittiwakes and Arctic Terns.
Other birds we should encounter include: Whooper Swan, Greylag Goose, Common Eider, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated Diver, Fulmar, Manx Shearwater, Gannet, Golden Plover, Common Snipe, Whimbrel, Turnstone, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Arctic Tern, Black Guillemot, Puffin, Rock Dove, Hooded Crow, Raven, Rock Pipit and White Wagtail. There's a chance of Red-necked Phalarope and maybe some other vagrants as well.
Grey Seals should be seen, and interesting flora includes Fir Clubmoss, Common Moonwort, Dwarf Willow, Alpine Bistort, Babington’s Orache, Arctic Mouse-ear, Lesser Spearwort, Irish Saxifrage, Alpine Snow Saxifrage and Faroese Lady’s-mantle, to name just some. Of course, we’ll aways be on the look out for cetaceans as well. We take a ferry to the island of Suðuroy and on our way cruise past the southern islands of Stora Dímon, Litla Dímon, Skúgvoy and Sandoy. There will be lots of auks on the journey and there’s also the chance of seeing Manx Shearwater, too. On the island of Eysturoy, botanists will delight in the upland flora. We’ll spend three nights at Gjógv in northern Eysturoy, explore northern cliffs and see Puffins and Great Skuas and hopefully find the rather elusive Faroes Wren. We’ll do some island hopping around the northern isles of Borðoy, Kalsoy and Viðoy and experience some of the most dramatic coastal scenery to be found anywhere in the world.
We visit the west coast of Streymoy and travel to the remote settlement of Saksun. Later we travel south to Vestmanna where we have a chance to take a boat trip and sail under the magnificent cliffs of the island.We stay in comfortable accommodation on four islands, though please note our guest house on Nolsoy, where we stay for one night only, is in rooms with shared facilities (not en-suite). This gives us more time with the Storm Petrels! Above all this is a gently paced holiday with the accent on enjoyable, non-intensive birding and general natural history. This is a lovely, relaxing holiday as a member of a small group, with fascinating birding amongst some of the most dramatic coastal scenery in the world.
Travel from London to Vágar Airport and transfer to Tórshavn. Dinner in Tórshavn. Overnight Tórshavn.
In the morning we’ll explore southern Streymoy and visit the historic settlement at Kirkjubøur. We’ll take the afternoon ferry to the island of Suðuroy and cruise past the southern islands of Stora Dímon, Litla Dímon, Skúgvoy and Sandoy. There’ll be lots of auks on the journey and there’s also the chance of seeing Manx Shearwater, too. Overnight Suðuroy.
A day exploring Suðuroy. We’ll see the dramatic cliffs and coastal landscapes of Suðuroy and spend more time in the company of the seabirds and waders of this, the most southerly, of the Faroe Islands. We'll walk to the northern cliffs and look for Bog Asphodel on the way. Overnight Suðuroy.
We’ll explore the southern part of the island and encounter more seabird colonies. We’ll see Guillemots and Razorbills and look out for Arctic Skuas stealing the food from the Kittiwakes and auks. We take the afternoon ferry to Streymoy. In the evening we will cross to the island of Nólsoy where we’ll spend the night. After dinner we’ll visit a Storm Petrel colony and hope to see these amazing birds at close hand. Overnight Nólsoy.
After a late start and leisurely morning on Nólsoy we’ll return to the island of Streymoy and drive northwards to reach the island of Eysturoy. There’s lots to see on the way and botanists will delight in the upland flora of these islands. We’ll spend the next three nights at Gjógv in northern Eysturoy.
We’ll explore northern Eysturoy and walk along the cliffs there. We’ll record Puffins and Great Skuas and hopefully see the rather elusive Faroes Wren. We’ll do some island hopping around the northern isles of Borðoy, Kalsoy and Viðoy and experience some of the most dramatic coastal scenery to be found anywhere in the world.
We visit the west coast of Streymoy and travel to the remote settlement of Saksun. Later we travel south to Vestmanna where we have a chance to take a boat trip (optional cost around £35) and sail under the magnificent cliffs of the island. Our return to Gjógv takes us across the wild mountains of northern Eysturoy.
Travel to Vágar for departure to London
Scheduled direct return flights London Stansted - Faroes, airport taxes, ground and boat transportation as outlined above, accommodation on a full-board basis, admissions, local taxes, incidental tips, and the services of Heatherlea Leader Andy Jones. Minimum group size 4, Maximum group size 8.
The prices exclude optional seabird boat trip (cost around £35), travel insurance, drinks, and other personal expenses.