Tiny island is often topped with its own tiny cloud
If you’re fantasizing of escaping to your own private island, Lítla Dímun should play a role in your daydreams. It’s the smallest of the Faroe Islands’ 18 main islands — there are 779 in total in the North Atlantic, located 320 kilometers north-northwest of Scotland and about halfway between Norway and Iceland — and it has one very interesting feature.
The island is often capped by a lens-shaped cloud, making it look, well, like something out of a fairytale.
According to Atlas Obscura, Lítla Dímun’s floating cloud is a lenticular cloud, a type of cloud that forms when moist air travels over the top of a protruding geological feature, like the top of a mountain.
Here’s the science bit: As the wind moves up the mountain and hits the air immediately above it, a kind of wave forms on the downwind side of the mountain. The moist air evaporates, then condenses into a large cloud on the top of the mountain peak.
The result is impressive and the Visit Faroe Islands Facebook page is keen to show off their “little diamond.”
One warning before you attempt to escape to Lítla Dímun: No humans live there (although plenty of sheep do, and they’re said to produce some of the best sheep meat in the world), and getting ashore “can only be done in perfect weather.”
According to the Facebook post, people sail to the island in wooden boats to get to the sheep. “About 40 people then climb the rocky island, where they then form a chain across the island, driving the 200 or so sheep into a pen on the north side of the island,” says the caption to a photograph of Lítla Dímun with its floating cloud.
“The sheep are then caught, restrained by tying their feet together, put in nets five at a time and then lowered by ropes to the awaiting boats a few hundred meters down, and then sailed to the nearest village where the sheep is distributed among the locals.”
So, perhaps Lítla Dímun is best admired from afar.
The Faroe Islands are certainly worth touring remotely, however, which is an option offered via Facebook Live on the Visit Faroe Islands Facebook page now while traveling is restricted due to the coronavirus crisis: