Akraberg’s lighthouse sits on the most southerly point of the Faroe Islands archipelago © Spumador, Shutterstock
This wonderfully remote rocky promontory, which juts out proudly into the crashing waves of the North Atlantic, is a suitably enigmatic spot.
From Sumba, it’s barely another 2km along the road which climbs up out of the village to Akraberg and the most southerly point of the Faroe Islands. This wonderfully remote rocky promontory, which juts out proudly into the churning waves of the North Atlantic, is a suitably enigmatic spot. At the end of the road there’s a viewpoint.
During World War II, British soldiers were regularly here, maintaining the lighthouse and a radar station that scanned the sea and skies south of the Faroes; some of the pillboxes they built as part of anti-invasion preparations are still standing.
It’s thought that the original inhabitants of Akraberg were heathen Frisians who began settling here in around 800 – there are legends about them in Faroese folklore based on oral accounts which were later written down in the late 1700s. Between 700–800 they were driven north by Frankish expansion and began settling on the territories of what’s now Germany, Holland and Jutland in Denmark. However, it’s assumed some sailed further north as old legends tell of an island north of the British Isles known as Frislandia – quite possibly Suðuroy. At its peak, there were 13 houses occupied by Frisians at Akraberg, while their (pirate) ships were moored at Sumba. The best known of the Frisians was Hergeir, who infamously burned down Bishop Erlendur’s residence at Kirkjubøur. The Frisian population finally succumbed to the Black Death in 1350, when the last two remaining inhabitants moved to Sumba and married there. The original settlement was located down on the shoreline but has long since vanished into the sea.