September 13, 2019 | Visit Faroe Islands
Participants from across the globe tackled the uneven terrain, steep ascents and descents, and exposed mountain ridges as part of Átjan Wild Islands – the new five-day trail-running, adventure and music festival held in the spectacular Faroe Islands last week (4 – 8 September 2019).
Taking place in the otherworldly landscape of this archipelago located between Iceland, Norway and Scotland, the event – formerly known in 2018 as the Útilív Adventure Festival – was re-branded for 2019 to Átjan Wild Islands, to represent the 18 major islands in the Faroe’s volcanic archipelago (‘Átjan’ means eighteen in Faroese).
Now in its second year, it has expanded to a five-day event. Entrants from 25 countries – including Austria, Canada, the Faroe Islands, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, the UK and the USA – chose to take part in adventure sports, together with mountain trail running and mountain marathons, which took them up and across the rugged terrain, along exposed ridges and past the sea and the islands’ fjords.
Speaking about this year’s event, Festival Director Theo Larn-Jones, says: “Organising the world’s first trail races in the Faroe Islands has been a huge challenge but, with incredible support from race sponsor SILVA, the local Faroese community, landowners, mountain rescue team and Red Cross, the event was by all accounts a great success.
“This year we were treated to some incredible weather. Blue skies and high clouds greeted runners on race day, and over the course of the day, we experienced very little rain and wind. Runners enjoyed unimpaired views across the whole of the islands from the highest parts of the course.”
New for 2019, the event included outdoor yoga, sea cave swimming and rock climbing. The sea cave swimming took place in the Klæmintsgjógv cave system, on the island of Hestur. Klæmintsgjógv is considered one of the world’s largest sea caves, with preliminary measurements showing that it measures approximately 350,000 cubic metres.
The four trail races, which included the Mountain Trail (10 km), Mountain Half-Marathon (21 km), Mountain Marathon (42 km) and Ultra-Trail Faroe Islands™ (60 km), finished in the picturesque town of Tjørnuvík, which is the northernmost village on the Faroese island of Streymoy, in Sunda Municipality.
The race features the world’s first 2-Michelin star aid-station; mountain top restaurant KOKS served as an official checkpoint and, the finish line was on the beach at Tjørnuvík, and many runners enjoyed a wild swim in 10°C water after receiving their medal.
With only 65 people living in this village, the locals rallied together to make Faroese soup for the race finishers, which was enjoyed from the warmth of the village hall. Local Faroese brewery, Okkara, also supplied each runner with a complimentary finish line beer.
One participant from Copenhagen, Ea Elisabeth Fabricius Wederwang, commented: “Combining trail running with sea kayaking, a pub run crawl, open water swimming, outdoor yoga, SUP, navigation walk, a film festival and excellent after-parties is a Faroe Islands dream come true”.
Meanwhile, Erin Jay from the UK said: “You couldn’t create an event this good… then someone did! Thank for the experience of a lifetime.”
“I returned to this wonderful event in the most magical of locations,” added another participant, Phil Cunningham from Scotland. “Stunning scenery and great adventures with new friends from all over the world. Running at its best. See you next year”.
Along with the activities, the event also boasted a fantastic musical line up, with high-profile acts including Auntie Flo, who has just won the Scottish Album of the Year Award for his latest album ‘Radio Highlife’, and Bradley Zero, founder of the famous Rhythm Section club night and record label, who played at the opening party on the Wednesday night.
Tom Ravenscroft (radio DJ on BBC 6 Music), and local live Faroese acts ELINBORG and FRUM also performed at the closing party on the Sunday night.
“Looking ahead to next year, we will continue to develop and pioneer trail running in the Faroe Islands,” adds Theo Larn-Jones.
“Planning is already underway for next year’s five-day festival, which will take place from 2 – 6 September 2020.”
Tickets for the 2020 festival go on sale on Monday 30 September 2019.
A selection of images can be downloaded here. Credit information is in the image title.
Faroe fast facts:
Number of sheep: 80,000
Number of islands: 18
Total area: 1,399 km2
Press: Issued on behalf of Visit Faroe Islands (www.visitfaroeislands.com) by Travel PR. For more information, or if you might be interested in a press visit to the Faroes Islands for next year’s event, please contact Travel PR on +44 (0)20 8891 4440 or email Kate Chapman (firstname.lastname@example.org), Laura Forbes (email@example.com) or Sue Ockwell (firstname.lastname@example.org).