Hiking from Hvalvík to Vestmanna

24/02/2014 16:40

Written by James Proctor

Vestmanna, Faroe Islands © Shutterstock/Eydfinnur © Eydfinnur, Shutterstock

From the centre of Hvalvík a 10km hike (allow 3½ hours) leads up through the remote mountain valley of Bjarnadalur over to Vestmanna on the western Streymoy coast. The trail begins where the Myllá river enters the village, roughly halfway along the village’s one main road. Follow the north bank of the river through a gate and along a fenced track that’s been used over the years for herding cattle. Look out for a cairn located after the Hvalvíkgjógv cleft. From here the path continues upwards towards Eggjarmúli hill where you meet the overhead electricity cables which serve Vestmanna and lead all the way there. From this point there are superb views of Saksunardalur valley running to the northwest. Next you’ll come across a cairn built on top of a large rock known as Kellingarsteinur. At the next cairn you have a choice: the right path takes you on to Vestmanna whereas the trail cutting off to the left leads down to Kvívík. You now walk through Bjarnadalur valley between the twin peaks of Moskursfjall (624m) to the north and Loysingafjall (639m) to the south, about which there are several tales. One account is of a girl from Vestmanna who was found high on the mountain by a shepherd after she’d disappeared from home claiming she’d been led there by a mysterious ghostly figure dressed in white, whereas the other story concerns a young milkmaid who fell into the Gjógvará River hereabouts and was carried away down a waterfall. She was eventually found on the mountain wretched and naked and living in fear of the huldufolk, the Faroes’s hidden elves and spirits.

Emerging from the valley at the Fossá dam, you have again two choices, though this time both paths lead to Vestmanna: either you can follow the road off to the left and walk down to an area known as á Fjørð, or you continue straight on, passing around the dam, still following the cairns and the Gjógvará river (of milkmaid fame) which then leads down into the village.

There’s public transport to both ends of this hike: bus #400 runs to Hvalvík from Tórshavn and service #100 runs from Vestmanna back to Tórshavn.

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