Europa 2020 – Set Mint – Set

The Route: Klaksvík – Viðareiði

One of the most challenging postal routes on land was Klaksvík – Viðareiði, requiring hardy mail carriers to vanquish one of the most inaccessible mountain areas in the Faroe Islands.

Postman Jákup’s Demise

On November 24, 1887, the very first postman in the Northern Islands, Jacob Eliassen (1836 – 1887), embarked on the route Klaksvík – Viðareiði. Although the weather was reasonably good, mountains were covered with snow and ice. Postman Jákup, or Jakke í Vági, as he also was called, was never seen alive again.

The Postmen on the Mountain

The stamp motif depicts another dramatic event on the same route. A few decades after Jákup suffered his fatal accident, two postmen were heading in the other direction – from Viðareiði to Klaksvík. One of them, Jacob Vitalis, Jakke í Krotugrøvini as he was called, recounted the experience in an interview recorded in 1971.

The Route: Vestmanna – Vágar

At the turn of the last century mail was delivered to Kvívík, Vestmanna and Vágar island by postman Ólavur Olsen (1855 – 1947). Ólavur went from Vestmanna to Tórshavn to get the mail. Back in Vestmanna, he rowed across the strait with mail bound for Vágar. The strait of Vestmanna is notorious among sailors for its exceptionally strong currents. It is especially difficult to traverse when the wind and the currents are moving in opposite directions.

A Mailboat Goes Down

Friday, October 1, 1920, was just such a day. It was very windy – strong gusts and ocean currents coming from opposite directions.

Mailboat “Ólavur”

Following the accident in 1920, a ban was imposed on mail deliveries in open boats across the strait of Vestmanna. Ólavur Olsen’s sons, Samuel Jacob (Sam) and Johan Olsen assumed the responsibility of transporting mail across the strait after the death of their father. They had a decked boat, named Helgi, which was now put on the route. Helgi, however, was primarily a fishing vessel. In 1930 the brothers built a new decked boat to be used especially for mail, passengers and other freight. They named the new boat “Ólavur” after their father.

The Accident at Fútaklettur

On December 29, 1958, “Ólavur” was delivering mail and passengers to Vágar as usual. The landing site at Fútaklettur was primitive and so shallow that “Ólavur” was unable to dock in bad weather due to risk of grounding. Therefore, a smaller boat was had in tow and used to move people and goods from the decked boat to the quay.