From incredible wildlife encounters to quirky events, the Falkland Islands offer plenty to keep visitors and locals entertained. With the 30th anniversary this year and an action-packed calendar of events to watch or participate in, why not coincide a visit with one of these top events.
January & February – Newborns for the New Year: The Islands’ wildlife wonders are at their finest during the warmer weather from December to February. It’s a fantastic time for nature lovers and photographers to visit, with a trip to the outlying islands to marvel at the new life, a must.
There’s the chance to spot sea lion pups, suckling from their mothers and foraging gentoo penguin parents are all a flurry in February as they have their work cut out feeding the huge chick ‘crèches’, while Magellanic penguin chicks will leave their burrows for the first time.
February 26 – 29 – Camp Sports Week: Marking the traditional end of the sheep shearing season, this colourful Falklands event celebrates everything about the glorious countryside – known locally as ‘Camp’ originating from the Spanish word ‘campo’, or countryside. The Islanders unwind with big family get-togethers and a host of events including sheep shearing, dog trials, horse racing and barbeques.
March 18 – On your marks for the world’s most southerly marathon: Forget London and New York, for a real challenge don your running shoes for the world’s most southerly AIMS-certified marathon. The Standard Chartered Bank Stanley Marathon, now in its seventh year, is widely regarded as one of the most challenging marathon courses, but participants are rewarded with magnificent views around the Islands’ capital, Stanley. Proceeds raised go to ‘Seeing is Believing’, the bank’s charity for visually impaired people.
June 14 – Liberation Day Parade: This year marks the 30th anniversary of the end of the Argentine occupation of the Falkland Islands in 1982. Islanders gather at Christ Church Cathedral to mark the occasion with a thanksgiving service, followed by wreath laying at the Liberation Monument and a military parade. The day is a public holiday in the Falkland Islands.
June 22 (tbc)- On the count of three…take a mid-winter swim: Not for the fainthearted, the Saturday before mid-winter’s day (midsummer in the Northern hemisphere), a handful of plucky residents take to the chilly Atlantic waters to raise money for charity. Watch the brave swimmers or, better still, join them at Surf Bay, near Stanley. Mulled wine is served afterwards in the pub in Stanley!
August 14- Falklands Day: This day marks the first recorded sighting of the Falkland Islands by English sea captain John Davis in 1592.
September – Black-browed albatross and elephant seals return: Known locally as ‘mollymawks’, the black-browed albatross flock to the Falkland Islands this month to breed. Their return is heralded by their noisy bray and fanned tail courting displays. The largest of seal species, the elephant seal, also arrive in September.
September 1 – Gone fishing – Trout fishing season officially begins: Whether casting out into the open ocean or enjoying the rivers and treeless banks, the strong runs of fish on the Falklands will surprise many a keen fisherman. The combination of plentiful fish and the pristine conditions of the waterways, make for a real angler’s paradise. September to October is the best time to catch brown trout and sea trout, with fish in excess of 10lbs regularly hooked. The biggest sea trout caught has been recorded as a whopping 22lbs!
September 8-9 – Check out the local arts and crafts: From homespun wool to rugs and jewellery, browse the impressive annual exhibition of arts and crafts on display, held at the Falkland Island Community School in Stanley.
September 28 (tbc) – Take your partners for the Falklands Conservation Charity Ball: This black-tie affair is the charity event of the year raising funds for conserving the wildlife heritage of the Falklands, serving up a fabulous evening of fizz, food and frenzied dancing. Place a bid at the auction when local art goes under the hammer.
November 24 (tbc) – Charity Fire Engine Pull: This fun family day sees the Falklands’ Fire and Rescue Service race to beat the clock over 1.7 miles with a 14-ton fire engine in tow. Other event highlights include two teams competing in a hose relay.
December – Egg hatching: December is one of the most exciting months in the Falklands with Magellanic penguins and black-browed albatross among the varied species whose eggs hatch this month. Killer whales can also be spotted circling the shore of Sea Lion Island as elephant and sea lion pups take their first waddle.
December 8 – Battle Day Parade: This national holiday commemorates the second major naval engagement of the First World War when a small British fleet destroyed the German South Atlantic Squadron. The 1914 Memorial, constructed on a headland west of Government House, is the focus for a service and RAF fly by. The day kicks off with a well-attended, colourful parade.
December 26-28 – They’re off – Stanley Sports Association Race Meeting: Stanley thunders to the sound of hooves with the annual Boxing Day race meeting providing fun and entertainment for all the family. A Christmas tradition, a horse race has been held in Stanley for over a century. Expect to see top class locally and internationally bred horses battling it out as well as side events from traditional gymkhanas to bull riding.
For further information on the Falklands Islands, please visit www.falklandislands.com