Travels in the North

Musings on arctic holidays

The Grindadráp

I’ve just seen the news that a group of pilot whales have become stranded in Anstruther in Fife. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-19455719

Reminds me of the grindadráp (literally “grind”), the traditional though perhaps controversial whale hunt in the Faroe Islands. The Faroese go out in boats and try and divert passing pods of whales into shallow fjords. As pilot whales always travel together you snare the whole pod, often thirty or fourty whales, in one go. Once in the fjord the whales are killed using a knife called a grindaknívur. The food from the hunt is distributed among the villagers, and in days gone by it was an essential source of meat for the islanders.

These days of course whaling is a far more contentious issue, but I guess as the pod who stranded themselves in Fife (without any human “encouragement”) show, this could be considered Darwinism in action.

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