The ancient Romans thought Foula was Ultima Thule, a place beyond the borders of the known world. Michael Powell used the island as a stand-in for St Kilda in his 1937 film The Edge of the World. All of which is to say that Foula feels pretty remote.
This summer I spent two weeks on Fair Isle, the UK’s most remote inhabited island and (perhaps of more note to British people) the name of one the areas on the Shipping Forecast. Continue reading “Fair Isle at BBC and Condé Nast Traveler”
The Lofoten International Art Festival is in the only part of Norway where drilling for oil is not currently permitted, but that could change.
My report from the 2017 Lofoten International Art Festival is at Hyperallergic.
North Ronaldsay, the most northerly of Scotland’s Orkney Islands, shares several properties in common with the country’s other remote northern isles. There’s the Neolithic-era standing stone, for example, and the lighthouse built by members of the famed Stevenson engineering clan. But look out to the shoreline and you’ll spot something altogether more particular to this island. Small sheep—wrapped in thick fleeces of brown, black, white, and gray—nimbly pick their way across sand and wet rocks. As waves break close behind them, they pass basking seals and munch on seaweed, thick pieces of brown kelp trailing from their mouths.
A primitive breed, part of the North European short-tailed sheep group, and smaller than most modern breeds, North Ronaldsay sheep have evolved in isolation since their arrival on the island, possibly as far back as the Iron Age. There are currently around 3,000 on North Ronaldsay, grazing all along the coastline and eating seaweed at low tide. Aside from the Galapagos marine iguana, they are thought to be the only land animals able to survive solely on seaweed. This is not just a quirk, but the result of necessary evolution.
Read the rest of my story about saving these seaweed-eating sheep at Atlas Obscura.
I spent a few days at the vernissage (preview) of the Venice art biennale where, far from the headlining major national pavilions, I found a collateral event that might have been the highlight of the three days. For Catalonia in Venice, the artist Antoni Abad worked with blind Venetians to bring visitors a sensory experience of a visually familiar city. Continue reading “Venice Biennale at Condé Nast Traveler”
Some 1.3 billion people lack regular access to electricity. With its reliable independent grid powered by wind, water and solar, a remote Scottish island could hold the key to a solution.
My story on street art has just been published at National Geographic Travel: 7 Cities to See Powerful Street Art
Given a limit of seven places and the intent of geographical diversity, many deserving cities could not make the cut. So here are a few more favourites. Continue reading “Street Art at Nat Geo Travel”