Time out at last 29.06.16
Walking was good for me. At last I have discovered a little of my surroundings and have returned in better humour. I walked in the rain and now the sun shines. Brilliantly.
I think about walking again, to look for a way to the top of the hill that escaped me earlier but I am tired, my bones do not like the dampness in the air and I am enjoying sitting alone. The football officials are team bonding in Torshavn and my host has gone for a bath. I find no comfy couch to sit in but nevertheless enjoy the emptiness and space from others. Sunshine always helps.
I did not manage to reach the ocean. I am in Midvagur, a deep bay on Vagar. Around the bay to the east, the stench of ammonia turned me away just before the factory gates did. Fish processing, drying I guess. I recall the same stench in Norway as racks of fish lay drying in the sun and the wind. Here there is too much rain. Perhaps the factory sheds had slatted sides in the same way that domestic sheds have slatted sides for wind fermenting/drying sheep.
My journey around the bay to the south east took me past expanses of rough pasture that reminded me of Hebridean machair, a mass of fragile blossom on thin soil: cotton grass, buttercup, flowering grasses, ragged robin, orchids, thrift, all looking ripe for haymaking. No signs of haymaking, the perpetual rain would make it rather challenging. I see no signs of silage either and few sheep. The grassy slopes appear to be left alone for the great part but here and there small patches have been dug over and ridged. This year’s potato harvest is beginning to grow.
I followed the rocky path beside the harbour where expensive ocean going cruisers sit beside fishing boats and occasional wooden Viking shaped rowing boats cry out for attention. Each evening, I can see teams of young people training for local rowing contests, in these boats, it is a national sport. Teams of six rowers in traditional fishing boats are driven by a thunderous cox, yelling and screaming. Some teams are better in tune with each other’s rowing rhythm than others but regardless it is good to witness team effort in heavy boats with upturned ‘viking’ noses.
I walk on past a granite quarry with a sole jcb feeding granite slabs into a grinder. Black scars have been eaten from the cliffs above. It appears a lonely occupation.
Rock stacks become visible beyond the mountains at the head of the bay, with heads immersed in cloud. My way is blocked by fencing and I cannot get close enough to view. My iPad is stuffed inside my clothes, safe away from the rain and despite my desire to take photos, it is not tempted to be a photographer.
The thing that strikes me most as I am walking is the dearth of people and the way many buildings generally look abandoned with not a soul to be seen. My host drives the one hundred metres between her home and this guesthouse several times every day. There must be people around but perhaps, like her, afeared of the rain, they all jump in their cars and go.
I find the buildings in general, unattractive, non descript, not the bright coloured dwellings I have seen in photos. A few turf rooves exist, but mostly rooves are corrugated and the turf when there, is in various states of repair. Some dilapidated, in disarray, tumbling off, a few are new and neat whilst some are in need of a haircut. I wonder why they cut them, I have seen them being cut and conclude that it probably serves to thicken the sward and maintain the waterproof layer.
I return smiling, refreshed by my time alone. One of my hosts’ brothers is a fisherman, I should ask to go to sea with him, should ask to go anywhere anyone is going, let my needs be known. I feel in a strong position for bargaining!