DAY 1: ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND
Many of Aberdeen’s historic stone buildings are of locally quarried granite; high in mica, they can sparkle like silver. The city is famed for its forty-five parks, gardens, and floral displays. Though it is now a modern city, Aberdeen retains its old world charm. We board the Ocean Endeavour in the afternoon.
DAY 2: KIRKWALL, ORKNEY
Kirkwall is dominated by the massive St. Magnus Cathedral, dating from 1137. We’ll visit the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where we’ll find the 4,000-year old Ring of Brodgar and The Hall of Clestrain, the childhood home of Arctic Explorer John Rae!
DAY 3: FAIR ISLE
Once a Viking hub, Fair Isle is now an idyllic island colony of artists and shepherds. The island boasts 350 bird species, including puffins and great skuas in substantial numbers. The local museum is dedicated to preserving island heritage.
DAY 4: SUÐUROY ISLAND AND SUMBA, FAROE ISLANDS
Suðuroy Island, Faroes, is famed for its dramatic cliffs towering over the North Atlantic, and is a paradise for birds, including European storm petrels and Atlantic puffins. The village of Sumba, population 239, occupied since the seventh century, is a stronghold of Faroese chain dancing. Hiking is excellent in the foothills of nearby Beinisvørð Mountain, affording spectacular, panoramic views of the region.
DAY 5: TÓRSHAVN
Tórshavn, “Thor’s harbour,” is the Faroe Islands’ capital and largest town. A former Viking trading centre, Tórshavn is a splendid little city to explore. The National Art Gallery is a treasure, surrounded by gorgeous grounds with walking trails. We will visit Nordic House and experience excellent shopping, restaurants, and pubs.
DAY 6–7: WESTERN FAROE ISLANDS
The northwestern shores of Eysturoy and Streymoy islands are perfect for hiking, birding, and photography. Charming villages connected by high-tech tunnels through mountains and beneath the ocean floor are a unique and startling feature of Faroese life. The spectacular waterfall at Gásadalur is reached through one such tunnel—but look for the old switchback trail over the mountain, once used by the local postman!
DAY 8: MYKINES ISLAND
Mykines is the westernmost of the Faroes and a geological marvel. Great columns of balsalt (called the Stone-wood) tower thirty metres above the ocean. On the western end of the island, connected by a forty metre footbridge, is the islet Mykineshólmur, famed for its sea stacks and a lighthouse dating to 1909. Mykines has been identified as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.
DAY 9: AT SEA
Today we will enjoy a day at sea. With onboard education and time spent on deck, we will keep our eyes open for marine wildlife and seabirds!
DAY 11: HEIMAEY, VESTMANNAEYJAR (WESTMAN ISLANDS), ICELAND
Vestmannaeyjar lies off the south coast of Iceland and comprises fourteen islands, numerous rocks, and skerries. Only the largest island, Heimaey, is inhabited.
Numerous species of seabirds, including the famous puffin, nest in the steep rock faces along the ocean cliffs. The volcanically active area has seen two major eruptions in recent times: the formation of the island of Surtsey in 1963, and the Eldfell eruption ten years later that destroyed much of Heimaey.
DAY 11: REYKJAVÍK, ICELAND
Reykjavík, “steamy bay”, is a cosmopolitan capital city on the site of what is believed to be the first permanent settlement in Iceland, established in 874 AD. Entirely powered by geothermal energy, Reykjavík is among the cleanest, greenest, and safest cities in the world.
We'll disembark the Ocean Endeavour in the morning.