Faroe Islands 'close down' as tourists fly in to repair them

Sun Online Desk

13th May, 2019 08:11:59 printer

Faroe Islands 'close down' as tourists fly in to repair them

In the North Atlantic lies a remote group of volcanic islands renowned for their rugged beauty. Increasingly favoured by tourists, the Faroe Islands announced this year they were temporarily closing down parts of the country.

The first thing you discover about these islands, halfway between Norway and Iceland, is the weather.

Monstrous gusts welcome planes as they wobble in to land at picturesque Vagar airport. Step outside the terminal and the power of the wind can almost knock you off your feet.

When the archipelago's authorities declared they were shutting down 11 popular tourist sites for two days last month, they also advertised for volunteers.

"Closed for maintenance, open for voluntourism," their video said.

From thousands of applications, 100 people have been selected. Aged between 18 and 75, they have come from 25 countries, including as far afield as Australia.

These "voluntourists" agreed to pay for their own flights and work for two days on selected sites. In return, they are fed and lodged without charge.

On arrival, they are split into colour-coded groups to work with the locals across the 18 islands.

"Brown group" are quickly put to work near the islands' most important historical site in the village of Kirkjubour, which is home to about 50 residents, on the largest island of Streymoy.

Few among the team of Britons, Norwegians, Danes and Irish have the faintest idea of what to expect.

A 7km (4.3 miles) rocky trail awaits, snaking up into the foggy hills, and with it a full working day of lifting heavy boulders.