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Monday 3 September 2018

The Faroes

On Thursday the dogs head off to the Pets Premier Hotel for a long weekend. It is the Lad’s visit and MD’s first visit with the Lad, so it's traumatic for all of us. Then we get the train up to Edinburgh via a change at Chesterfield. We then fly to the Faroes from Edinburgh Airport on Friday.

This means we get a night out in Edinburgh first, so I have booked a nicely central Holiday Inn. The flight is at a relaxed 2:25pm and the tram from the centre of town takes us straight to the airport.

The flight is with the Faroese national carrier Atlantic Airlines and goes well until we get to the landing at Vagar Airport. The runway we have to land on is absolutely tiny, it’s surrounded by mountains which you can almost touch as you skim over the top of them, the weather is windy..., the descent steep..., the braking ferocious... and the nerves shredded.

Once safely on terra firma we are directed to a small hut which turns out to be the terminal building, we are reunited with our luggage and then we pick up our hire car, a rather cute red VW Up. Which I am told will be in the car park with the keys in the glove box and to just help myself. They didn’t even ask to see my licence.

Then we drive the 100 yards or so to the airport hotel where we are staying. The hotel has it’s own mini golf course, right outside our window but we don’t see anyone on it all weekend. L continually declines my offer to get amorous on the links, which becomes a wiser and wiser decision as the weather declines.

Meteorologically everything is ok for Saturday though, which is race day. Our hotel is about the half way point on the half marathon route but first we have to drive up to the assembly point at Giljanes school in Sandavágur. From there they bus us the whole length of the course to the start in the village of Gásadalur. There are two starts, one for walkers at 8.30 and one for runners at 9.30. There are a lot of walkers.

The whole route is stunning and an experience but no experience is like the start which is downhill from Gásadalur then back up into a tunnel which must have been a km long in the dark. Thereafter we hug the coast, go past our hotel, through the airport and then onwards past a Johnny Cash impersonator to the finish by the church in Sandavágur.

It's not a fast course by any stretch of the imagination but I’m very pleased with my 1:47. Ten minutes quicker than my Erewash time.

We adjourn to the school were we are treated to the local Hiddenfjord salmon, lots of homemade cakes and coffee. Then it’s back to the hotel for the post-race debrief and to crack open a few of the local beers.

Where we are isn’t exactly stacked full of places to eat and drink (we don’t see any), so our evenings revolve around the hotel where they seem to always have an ‘all you can eat’ buffet on. They also stock beer from one of the two Faroese breweries Foroya Bjor. The other, Okkara, we only see at the airport from where we buy a few bottles to bring home.

On Sunday we head off exploring in the car, unfortunately it rains almost the whole time and the visibility is poor. I was quite looking forward to the drive because the roads look a bit like those in the north of Scotland e.g. single track with passing places, only here that also includes in the tunnels... but, sadly, we don’t come across any of those.

Despite the weather we do a bit of a tourist tour including a trip to the capital Torshavn. Then on Monday we fly and train all the way home.

(Monday 3rd September)

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