Voyage of the week: memories of the war in the Falkland Islands

With a landmass nearly the size of Northern Ireland and a population of just 3,500 people, the Falkland Islands have an ‘otherworldly’ natural beauty that is attracting a growing number of visitors. But this spring, some Brits have another reason to leave, Marcel Theroux said in The Daily Telegraph. It is the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War, which began on April 2, 1982 and ended six weeks later on June 14. Beginning May 4, hundreds of veterans are scheduled to fly to the islands to attend memorial ceremonies in the capital, Stanley.

The war still “plays a large part in every aspect of life in the Falkland Islands”. It can be “very sobering” to hear firsthand from islanders about their memories of the fighting; and for a British tourist of a certain age, a visit to the battlefields is ‘goosebumps’. You’ll find once-familiar names (Mount Harriet, Tumbledown, Goose Green) as well as rusting chunks of material (‘burnt-out helicopters, old Argentine field kitchens, downed fighter jets’) that make the conflict seem ‘eerily fresh’.

But for the islanders, the war had some positive effects. The Foreign Office largely neglected them until 1982, and life was poor and hard for most. Since then there have been “tremendous material improvements” with new fishing rights and a growth in tourism, mainly from cruise ships.

Founded in 1845, Stanley retains its quaint Victorian heart but has grown significantly in recent years. It has acquired some “reliably good” restaurants (the local toothfish is “delicious”), a great microbrewery and a “fantastic” craft gin distillery, Darwin’s Botanicals. And the transport connections within the islands are greatly improved.

Revel in its boundless space and tranquillity, its “Intense Southern Hemisphere Sunshine” and its amazing sub-Antarctic wildlife, which includes elephant seals, sea lions and six species of penguins.

Specialist tour operators include Journey Latin America ( and Rainbow Tours ( Voyage of the week: memories of the war in the Falkland Islands

Fry Electronics Team

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