The island of Skorpa has a somewhat mythical status due to its inaccessibility and to its inhabitants. Located right on the roughest stretch of sea in Northern Europe and surrounded by extremely shallow and extremely rough waters, Skorpa resembles a volcano rising steeply out of the sea.
There are only two natural harbours on the island, and these can only be accessed on the best of days, so some people claim that it’s easier to get granted a visit to the king of Norway, than to land on Skorpa. Still the island was home to five farms clustered around the harbour, all of which are now used as summer homes, as the last family moved from Skorpa in the 1970’s.
Another factor that adds to the mythical status is the population of about 70 wild goats belonging to the the ancient and highly endangered species Norwegian Coastal Goat. These goats can survive on seaweed and heather, but this week-end seven of the males had descended to the harbour to fatten up on on the grassy pastures, and gracefully stopped to pose for us on their way back to the mountain.
After circumnavigating Skorpa, Lillian Alice and I wanted to ascend the tallest peak of the island, Keipen at 431 meters above sea level. As we headed up the mountain, the fog started rolling in, creating beautiful colours and magical light.
As we headed back down, the light turned more and more golden, creating beautiful effects in the fog.
As we returned to the harbour, we were invited to supper of freshly caught crabs by Endre Skorpen and his wife, and we had a wonderful time at their cabin. Endre grew up in Skorpa, and was along with his father the last two permanent residents of the island, and told us tales of horrific winter storms and mountainous waves, and showed us the narrow passages the locals use to get around the island. Having just completed the circumnavigation using those same passages, I’m impressed. I wouldn’t have passed through there in anything else but an ocean kayak.
As we headed back to the harbour in the dark with Endre, lights suddenly appeared, and the three other men on the island came over to help us launch the kayaks on the slippery breakwater torn apart by the sea. We thanked them all for their help, their amazing hospitality and for all the stories from Skorpa. We had had a truly wonderful day in the magical island.