Participants from across the globe tackled uneven terrain, steep ascents and descents, and exposed mountain ridges as part of Átjan Wild Islands – a the new five-day trail-running, adventure and music festival held in the Faroe Islands 4-8 September 2019.
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, 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 traces 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.
One participant from Copenhagen, Ea Elisabeth Fabricius Wederwang, commented: “Combing 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 Faroes Islands dream come true.”
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.”