The Land of Maybe

A Faroe Islands Year

Following the natural cycle of the year, The Land of Maybe captures the essence of 'slow life' on the 18 mysterious islands which make up the Faroes in the North Atlantic. Here, a fast disappearing world is home to a close-knit society where just 50,000 people share Viking roots and a unique language.

The Land of Maybe is published by Short Books and can be ordered from all good bookshops. It is available on

The sheep and their bleating cry are as much the music of these green mountains as the shrill call of the oystercatchers. Those sounds are as welcoming to me as the smell of hand-cut hay spread with a pitchfork, or the taste of blackening mutton hung in a wooden shed to dry and then fermented in the wind that howls off a winterdark fjord.

Nólsoy is a gigantic bulwark protecting Tórshavn from the worst of the westerly winds. It could be a sleeping whale, a silhouette of gentle curves, humped and half submerged, bulbous and tapering. It dozes opposite the town, a fixed point in the endless skittering shadow show of cloud and current. Even from Tórshavn’s old fort at Skansin right at the water’s edge, the whole island frequently melts away, erased from the horizon by a magical shroud of mist and rain. But, often enough, there are days when Nólsoy glows, lit up by a low sun. Then, it hovers; a glowing spaceship between sea and sky. And in the small silent hours when the moon is full and rising above a tenebrous sea, I have found myself awake and alone, mesmerised by clouds racing above the island, chasing one another away and into the blackness at the edge of the world. It truly seems a floating thing, like Tír na nÓg and other mythical Atlantic islands.

'This is Ecott at his best. His prose is incisive and elegiac. From the book's opening line we are there among the gannets, the pilot whales and sea-butted cliffs, wrestling with the winds and the enigma that is this Land of Maybe. Absorbing stuff, full of the ancient lore and very modern predicaments that daily beset the proud Faroese on their rocky outpost.' 

Benedict Allen

'The tough, mystical, intangible character of the Faroes is captured by Ecott's gorgeously rich and descriptive writing that makes you believe you can smell the sea, hear the birds and feel the wind. A beautiful and evocative read.'  Kate Humble

'Filled with loving detail, humour and heart The Land of Maybe is a lyrical treat. Tim Ecott has created a raven-haunted love song to the intimate insecurity of island living and the salt-caked, tightly-braided culture of the Faroes.'  A.L. Kennedy

'In this excellent book, Ecott's evocative telling makes me want to go to this weird and wonderful place. ' Paul Theroux 

Tim Ecott's journalism appears widely in the national press and on the BBC. He is available for commissions and writing projects. His other books include:

Neutral Buoyancy: Adventures in a Liquid World (Penguin)

Vanilla: Travels in Search of the Luscious Substance (Penguin)

Stealing Water: A Secret Life in an African City (Hodder)

Michael Adams: A Monograph

The Story of Seychelles (Outer Island Books)

You can write to him at: