Kalsoy

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Kalsoy
Island
Kalsoy
Kalsoy
Location within the Faroe Islands
Location within the Faroe Islands
Coordinates: 62°17′N 6°44′W / 62.283°N 6.733°W / 62.283; -6.733Coordinates: 62°17′N 6°44′W / 62.283°N 6.733°W / 62.283; -6.733
State  Kingdom of Denmark
Constituent country  Faroe Islands
Municipality seat Klaksvík
Area
 • Total 30.9 km2 (11.9 sq mi)
Area rank 9
Highest elevation 787 m (2,582 ft)
Population (2002)
 • Total 147
 • Rank 9
 • Density 4.8/km2 (12/sq mi)
Time zone GMT (UTC+0)
 • Summer (DST) EST (UTC+1)
Calling code 298

Kalsoy (Danish: Kalsø) is an island in the north-east of the Faroe Islands between Eysturoy and Kunoy.

Geography[edit]

The western coast has dramatically steep cliffs for the full length of the island, whereas idyllic valleys on the eastern slopes protect the four tiny settlements, Húsar, Mikladalur, Syðradalur and Trøllanes, whose combined populations total less than 150. They are connected by a partly surfaced road which passes through four dark tunnels. The island's thin shape and road-tunnels give it the nickname "the flute". There is a lighthouse at Kallur, the northern tip of Kalsoy.

Important Bird Area[edit]

The northern and western coastline of the island has been identified as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International because of its significance as a breeding site for seabirds, especially Atlantic Puffins (40,000 pairs), European Storm Petrels (5000 pairs) and Black Guillemots (200 pairs).[1]

Kalsoy, western coast
The Kalsoyarfjørður with Kalsoy (left) and Kunoy (right)

Mountains[edit]

The island has 13 peaks, the two highest of which are Nestindar (787 m) and Botnstindur (743 m).

Travel[edit]

There are ferry landings at Syðradalur, and one of the mail boats (named Sam) makes regular trips from Klaksvík to both settlements. One can walk north all the way to the lighthouse at Kallur, but the four unlit tunnels on the way make it advisable to carry a torch. However, there is not enough traffic to pose problems with exhaust gases. The northernmost tunnel through to Trøllanes is narrow, cold, damp and over 2 km long; it is rarely used by vehicles since the population of Trøllanes is only 20. The alternative overland route from Mikladalur to Trøllanes is a dangerous and precipitous path which is best avoided.

There is also a bus service between Húsar and Trøllanes.

Map of Kalsoy

Legends[edit]

Kalsoy has many legends, the best known of which is the legend of the Selkie or Seal-Woman of Mikladalur.

In old Faroese folklore it was believed that on Twelfth Night the seals came out of the sea, stripped off their seal-skins and became human beings, dancing on the shore. But before sunrise they had to put on their skins again to be able to return to the sea.

One night, however, a farmer of Mikladalur stole the skin of a beautiful young seal-woman, so she was not able to return to her husband and children in the sea. She lived with her new husband for years and had children with him. He had locked her seal-skin in his big chest containing all his valued possessions so that she could not leave him, and he always kept the key on a chain around his neck.

But one day when out at sea fishing, he discovered that he had forgotten his chain and key. When he returned, his seal-woman had left the house, having put out the fire and hidden all knives to protect her earthly children.

Later, the night before the traditional seal-killing, the seal-woman stood before her former husband in a dream asking him not to kill the Defender of the Seal-Cliff, who was her seal-husband, and the small, young seals who were her children. The farmer did not take her advice and her revenge was terrible. While enjoying the feast of the hunt in the same evening, a monster entered the farmer's house, telling him that so many men should fall down from the bird cliffs that they could join hands together around the whole island of Kalsoy.

This revenge has always been taken seriously, not only in Kalsoy but in the Faroe Islands generally. The descendants of the "Seal-woman" are still known in the country by certain characteristics, especially their short fingers.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International. (2012). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kalsoy. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 2012-02-23.
  2. ^ "The seal-woman of Mikladalur". Sjoferdir Skúvadal (www.puffin.fo). Retrieved 6 November 2013. 

External links[edit]