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active 53 mins ago

David Whale

I am passionate about bringing the unique nature, history and magic of the Faroe Islands to a wider audience of discerning travelers and take a very conservationist approach to our tours. E.g. Heimdal Tours is one of the few authorised tour guide companies to take small groups of travelers to the island of Mykines in the Faroe Islands, which happens to be the home of the largest puffin colony in Europe. As such, we only take groups out between May and the end of August and we only take small groups so that we do not disrupt the bird colony and fragile nature. Also only going between May and August allows the few human inhabitants to go about there daily lives out of season. i believe that actually being here in the Faroe Islands allows us to give you experiences outside of the usual tourist trails, based on our local knowledge.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"Day tours to the island of Mykines between May and end of August.
A selection of "Footsteps of the Vikings" Hiking tours ranging from 2 hour walks to full day hikes through stunning nature,
Day tours and Overnight tours to the beautiful southern island of Súðuroy, a 2 hour ferry ride from the capital, Tórshavn
Faroe Islands Highlights Tour taking in 4 of the most historic and picturesque village locations in one day.
"

How did you get involved in travel?

"Having spent many years in sales and customer service in a global industry then specifically in the travel hospitality business, I saw the need for a fresh new approach to offering a unique Faroe Islands experience to travelers, with the emphasis very much on the Viking history, Norse myths and legends, which then brings the stunning and dramatic nature of the islands alive together with being able to immerse themselves the unique daily life and culture by meeting the locals through home dining experiences and local activities."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"I have traveled to many far off countries, however I will stick with the Faroe Islands as a unique travel destination, especially for an English person arriving for the first time to make these islands my new home. The unique experience of flying to the Faroe Islands starts at the check-in. Most frequent flyers, especially business travelers, will be used to the relative anonymity and solitude of aeroplane travel.

Standing in the check in queue, reading the print off the back of your passport to avoid eye contact with the other strangers in the queue, willing the check-in to be over quickly so you can ditch the baggage and move on to the tiresome, but necessary, routine of a gradual striptease at the security check.

Proceeding to the allotted gate number to join the other travellers, immediately burying their heads into various i-devices to re-inforce their imaginary solitude bubble, before shuffling on to the plane clutching the boarding pass, silently waiting to take your seat and being oh so patient with the person in front holding everyone up while they take an eternity to stow their belongings away on the shelf.

Finally taking your seat and immediately hiding behind a newspaper so you do not have to acknowledge the person next to you, all the time playing the “who can dominate the armrest” shuffle. Then settling down for a nice quiet, undisturbed flight.

I can assure you that the Atlantic Airways experience to Vágar Airport, Faroe Islands could not be more different!

The first thing to strike you will be the familiar greetings as new passengers, joining the check-in queue, recognise their neighbours, work colleagues, even relatives, so instantly the queue is made up of groups huddled in animated conversation and laughter.

You are flying to a country which has a population of under 50,000 residents, there is only one airline and the atmosphere from check-in to landing is one more akin to a family Sunday coach outing.

However, make no mistake, this is a high quality coach outing, especially since Atlantic Airways introduced the latest Airbus 319 to the fleet (with another Airbus 320 on order), so no cramped seating here, it’s luxury all the way, including free food and drinks.

The people of the Faroe Islands consider this their very own airline and having traveled with a few “no frills” airlines across Europe recently, I can confirm that there is a huge sigh of relief and contentment stepping on board a “proper” airline to take you back home.

Almost immediately after take-off you will hear the mass unclicking of seatbelts as Faroese passengers move instantly up and down the gangway to talk to their friends, family and colleagues and the plane is filled with noisy chatter all the way.

The air stewardesses are also Faroese and therefore known personally to most Faroese passengers, so be prepared for much friendly chat as the obligatory in-flight meal is served together with an abundance of liquid refreshment and complimentary alcoholic drinks. (Although the airline has since scrapped free food and drink in favour of cheaper fares, a subject of much speculation and debate on the islands right now).

Fully expect to be willing to reveal your life story and purpose of your visit to your neighbouring passenger as soon as they discover that you are a foreign visitor and do not be surprised to get off the plane with at least one invite to someone’s home.

If you are lucky enough to be travelling in the daytime, you will also have the delight of seeing the islands as they emerge through the cloud from the ocean below.

Always a magical experience, as if you are descending into a Tolkien landscape straight from Lord Of The Rings, the magic enhanced even further if you approach low over Sørvágsvatn, a large lake which looks as though it is emptying it’s overflow over the high cliffs into the mass of the North Atlantic.

The landing is always dramatic, it is a fairly short runway so lots of heavy breaking and do not be surprised to hear the passengers give out a hearty cheer on landing or even a round of applause.

I am still not sure if this is an outpouring of delight to be home or sheer relief.

The final act of the arrival experience is one that always warms the cockles of my heart.

Instead of the usual corporate scripted “welcome to blah blah blah airport”, the Atlantic Airways announcement is always simply…

“…welcome home!”"

Recent trip reviews for David

Trip to the faroe islands and iceland, the Faroe Islands - Aug 3 - Aug 8, 2018

Traveler: Katherine D. - Local specialist: David Whale

Our family of four engaged Heimdal Tours to show us Mykines Island. It was an amazing experience! Our guide Tummas was extremely knowledge about the history, flora and fauna, and the people of the Faroe Islands. It was a busy day with more than one ferry to Mykines, but, even with the additional crowds, we felt like the island was ours. We would highly recommend Heimdal Tours.

David Whale, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thank you for your kind words. We are pleased that we and Mykines exceeded your expectations and we hope you enjoyed the rest of your stay in our beautiful islands. David and Tummas

Falls in torshavn, the Faroe Islands - Jul 11 - Jul 11, 2018

Traveler: Nancy C. - Local specialist: David Whale

David was an excellent guide, however; for the cost of this tour, there was ample time to stop for lunch at a local restaurant for a complimentary hot meal, in lieu of a sandwich from a convenient store with one bottle of water for the day. The van was a beautiful new vehicle, seating 4 comfortably (with room for two more in the rear seat). David is soft spoken so a wireless headset with speakers in the 2nd and 3rd row in his roomy VW van, is highly recommended. David listened to our... read more

David was an excellent guide, however; for the cost of this tour, there was ample time to stop for lunch at a local restaurant for a complimentary hot meal, in lieu of a sandwich from a convenient store with one bottle of water for the day. The van was a beautiful new vehicle, seating 4 comfortably (with room for two more in the rear seat). David is soft spoken so a wireless headset with speakers in the 2nd and 3rd row in his roomy VW van, is highly recommended. David listened to our suggestions - buy a step stool for short/petite guests, always have a trash bag on board and a roll of paper towels or napkins (we ate in his van because it was too cold/windy to eat at a outdoor picnic table). The tour itself was EXCELLENT....the island is so beautiful and seeing the local villages, getting a photo of a man on top of his roof mowing, breathtaking waterfalls, local dogs entertaining us with a game of fetch....priceless. Thanks David for sharing your knowledge and lovely island.

Nancy

David Whale, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Nancy, thank you for your review - we will always take EXCELLENT as a compliment. Just to clear up the restaurant v sandwich issue as this is a public review. Our brief was to provide "a faster paced tour to take in waterfalls and tunnels in particular as you had a keen photographer with you" Also essential to be back at the cruise ship at 14:15. this tells us that you want to spend as much of your valuable time actually out in the Faroese country, rather than sitting in a restaurant... read more

Hi Nancy, thank you for your review - we will always take EXCELLENT as a compliment. Just to clear up the restaurant v sandwich issue as this is a public review. Our brief was to provide "a faster paced tour to take in waterfalls and tunnels in particular as you had a keen photographer with you" Also essential to be back at the cruise ship at 14:15. this tells us that you want to spend as much of your valuable time actually out in the Faroese country, rather than sitting in a restaurant for an hour of that time, especially as much of the time on the cruise ship is doing just that. So sandwiches on the go were the order of the day. You mentioned also that they were bought from a convenience store. As you will have seen as we travelled around the Faroese countryside, we do not have restaurants, delis and supermarkets on each street corner - quite the opposite. So the "convenience store" that you mentioned is one of many "lifeline" stores around the islands that serve as grocery store, bakery, fast food, gas station, post office etc - we are able to order sandwiches to be freshly made and packaged that day to be collected as we pass. Just to clear up an impression that we may have just stopped to buy a motorway sandwich off the shelf. We take many tours from cruise passengers that run from 09:00 until 17;:00 and we offer the choice of a packed lunch or lunch in the restaurant in Gjógv on our Highlights Tour. We also conduct VIP tours where we can offer anything from Champagne picnics to privately chartered boat with lunch included - so anything is possible. It was a great pleasure to meet you all and to spend a lovely day together with you. Regards David

Runavik to lake sorvagsvatn and return, the Faroe Islands - Jun 24 - Jun 24, 2018

Traveler: Philip K. - Local specialist: David Whale

David was great! Very knowledgeable and delivered exactly as promised. The weather did not cooperate but David made it great. We hiked several miles crossing hundreds of small streams and rocks to see a lake but the clouds never lifted. David was funny as well with his 'picture a rock cliff over there...'
Phil K.

David Whale, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thank you for your kind words. It was indeed a pleasure to meet you bothe and I hope you enjoyed the rest of your cruise. All the best. David