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Part of Gondor from that land's foundation in II 3320
In the river Anduin, between Anórien to the west and North Ithilien to the east
Gondorian defenders were stationed on the island at various points in history
So named because of the island's northern end was shaped like a ship's prow, and raised long lines of foam in the River as its waters ran past
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 10 September 2023
  • This entry is complete

Ship of Long-foam

The island of Cair Andros

Map of the Ship of Long-foam

A translation of Elvish Cair Andros, the name given to a long island in the course of the Great River Anduin. As that river ran southeastward on the northern borders of Anórien, its stream divided into two courses that ran in parallel for a length of some ten miles, with the land between these separate courses forming the narrow isle. At its northern end, the rocks of the island were shaped like the prow of a ship, and the dividing waters of the river broke in white foam against them. Thus the island gained its name of the 'Ship of Long-foam'.

Northward of the Ship of Long-foam, the Great River ran through treacherous marshland, while to the south of the island the river become too wide to easily cross. Along this part of Anduin's course, then, Cair Andros formed the only practical crossing point into Anórien from the lands to the east. In the distant past, it was thought, the ancestors of the Wild Men of the Woods had made their way across the river here. Long afterward, during the Third Age, the Ship of Long-foam lay on the borders of Gondor. Offering one of the few means of entering that realm from the east, it therefore held considerable strategic significance.

The Gondorians fortified the island from early in their history, with our first accounts of defenders being stationed on the Ship of Long-foam dating back to the time after the Kin-strife (which ended in III 1447). The loss of Osgiliath's palantír in that civil war led to the building of Gondor's first beacons, and part of the reason for these beacons was to communicate with the defenders on Cair Andros. The island's fortifications were maintained through Gondor's history and occasionally rebuilt, notably by Steward Túrin II (who ruled Gondor III 2882 - III 2914, a century before the War of the Ring).

The Ship of Long-foam in the War of the Ring

As the War of the Ring approached, the Gondorians further fortified the Ship of Long-foam. It was used as a means for the Rangers of Ithilien to make secret crossings of Anduin to and from their hidden refuges, and horses were stabled there for use by urgent messengers. When the War came, however, these preparations proved of little help. A huge army passed out of the Morannon and descended on the island, taking it by force and continuing across the river into the land of Anórien. (It was this force that the scouts of the Rohirrim would later find blocking their way to Minas Tirith as they rode to the aid of the City.)

The Rohirrim found a way past the blockading army, and in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, most of Sauron's forces were slain or driven from the field. Nonetheless they maintained their positions on Cair Andros, and continued to hold the Ship of Long-foam. On the fateful ride toward the Morannon, Aragorn dispatched those warriors too fearful to approach the Black Gate itself and sent them to recover Cair Andros from the enemy who occupied it.

In this they evidently succeeded, or the fall of the Dark Lord caused the enemy to flee. However events unfolded, the island was freed of foes and, days later, a fleet of vessels from Minas Tirith was able to sail up the river to land on the island without opposition. Their cargoes were unloaded and carried to the Field of Cormallen (which lay opposite the Ship of Long-foam on Anduin's northeastern bank). It was there, ten days after the Fall of Barad-dûr, that a ceremony was held to celebrate and honour the Ring-bearers Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee. Aragorn and his people remained there for some time before crossing to the Ship of Long-foam and setting out to sail from it, back downstream to Minas Tirith and the coronation of the new King Elessar.


About this entry:

  • Updated 10 September 2023
  • This entry is complete

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