Sheep View

I was not surprised to learn about the Sheep View initiative. A group of isolated and sparsely populated islands does not come near the top of the list for the Google Street View project, why it's no wonder the Faroe Islander Durita Dahl Andreassen took to a natural resource: sheep.

The Sheep View 360 lets you see parts of the Faroe Islands even few visitors have seen close up. Sheep here graze on the steep hillsides and jump on the cliffs like chamois. I've been to one of the places mapped so far, Tjørnuvik, and I know how tricky it is to walk there and how stunning the views are.

From Faroe Islands 2016
The #wewantgooglestreetview campaign makes the point that Google has taken Street View cameras all over Europe but never to the Faroe Islands. The initiative has gone viral and been picked up by global media such as The Guardian, Washington Post, Wired UK, The Verge, Gizmag, SvD, and so on. A nice additional PR after the Faroe Islands became the National Geographic Readers' Best Trip Choice in 2015.

From Faroe Islands 2016
The project should not be confused with the GoogleSheepView initiative by Ding and Mike, who tries to spot as many sheep as possible by using Google Street View. I think they would really like to have footage from the Faroe Islands, since they have more sheep than people. Ding and Mike have picked up the story too.

Most of the sheep wondering around the islands are ewes and lambs while the rams are kept in pens until they are needed once a year to do their job. When we visited the small village of Gjógv the farmer gathered the sheep to put on markings on the lambs. Many mothers and children got separated in the process, why the baaing kept echoing through the valley all night long. Gathering the sheep must be hard work though, since the special Faroe breed have very little flocking instinct.

When we wandered about the old Tinganes in Tórshavn, our guide Per pointed out a special shed (hjallur), traditionally used for fermenting sheep meat by letting it hang and dry in the salty wind (skerpikjøt). It turns out that the imported sheep meat from New Zealand doesn't work in this process, why this kind of local dish is very rare and expensive. I'm sure that a lot of sheep talk takes place at Tinganes since this is where the government is located.

What to buy at the Faroe Island if not a sweater. I looked into the famous Gudrun&Gudrun shop (the Sara Lund character in the TV series "The Killing" wore one of their designs) but in the end I bought a felt pullover that I later personalised by adding real fleece and sequins to.

I think that the Faroe Islands is a good place for sheep. Lots of fresh grass all year round, you can go where ever you want, few people and cars, no predators, clean air and water, and not so cold in the winter. However, if you are requested to carry solar panels and a web camera all the time...
From Faroe Islands 2016

No comments: