Skarð – Kunoy, Faroe Islands - Atlas Obscura


Kunoy, Faroe Islands

The abandoned village of Skarð aptly illustrates the idiom "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." 


“Tis the part of wise man to keep himself today for tomorrow, and not venture all his eggs in one basket” wrote Cervantes, in Don Quixote in 1605. While the sentiment has been challenged (most notably by Mark Twain who wrote “Put all your eggs in the one basket and watch that basket”) in the case of Skarð Village, in the Faroe Islands, the idiom is apt.

On December 23, 1913 the day before Christmas Eve, all seven able-bodied men of the village climbed into a single fishing boat (quite possibly the only one in the village) and set out onto the North Atlantic Ocean presumably to catch a feast for the coming holiday. The men never returned.

Without men (able-bodied ones at least, a young boy and an old man remained) the remaining women and children left the town for Haraldssund, and the last inhabitant left only six years after the accident, in 1919. Skarð remains a ghost town to this day, complete with crumbling stone houses. Haraldssund, where the Skarð villagers resettled, isn’t much better off with a current population of only 70.

Know Before You Go

Two footpaths run to Skarð. One runs along the coast from Haraldssund; the other is a high mountain trail over Skarðsgjógv from the west coast town of Kunoy. The latter climbs about 600 metres and is a challenging route recommended for experienced mountain hikers only, though the villagers frequently used it to walk to Kunoy for Church services.

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