Getting off the ferry
was fast and simple. No formalities beyond a wave from a policeman.
If you turn right as soon as you drive out of the harbour gate
there is a car park a little further down the road where you
can stop to get your bearings. Failing that, unless you want
to be in central Tórshavn itself, turning left then right
and right at the two roundabouts will take you onto Yvri vid
Strond, a new road along the coast which continues round Tórshavn
as Eystari Ringvegur and Nordari Ringvegur which give access
to all main roads out of the capital.
Rules of the road
Faroe drives on the
right. Headlights and seatbelts are compulsory at all times.
Unless otherwise signed speed limits are 80kph in the country
and 50kph in built up areas. The only warning that you are in
a built up area is usually a single yellow sign showing the silhouette
of buildings at the start, and the same sign with a red bar across
it at the end, of the town or village.
In general Faroese drivers
are law abiding and courteous and drive defensively. However
there are, as everywhere, the occasional idiots, especially at
peak periods. Traffic is usually very light and even peak periods
in Tórshavn are not busy by UK standards. The Police operate
unmarked cars on some patrols.
Make no mistake about
it, you need to look out for Faroese sheep on the roads. They
have absolute right of way and take delight in exercising it.
You can guarantee that a lamb safely parked on one side of the
road will dash across in front of you to get to its mam when
alarmed by your approach. Most Faroese ewes have just the one
lamb, so a second one appearing can be a surprise. And once we
nearly collected a third which had been in hiding.
Roads and tunnels
Virtually all roads
in Faroe are surfaced and in good condition. Main double track
roads are of adequate width. Single track roads usually have
good edge markings with reasonable passing places, although these
are not signed. In those places where there was a risk of serious
accident if leaving the road there are barriers. However on occasions
some single track roads had deep drainage channels adjacent to
the carriageway and which were hard to see.
Faroe has a surprising number
of road tunnels, the longest being the new sub-sea tunnel to
Bordoy. There is a charge for using this and the other sub-sea
tunnel to Vágar. The charges are high and are collected
by camera. However the cameras can't recognise foreign number
plates so you don't have to pay if you have yur own car. Newer
and busier tunnels are lit, however some older ones are unlit.
Some are single track, unlit and unsurfaced (one we went through
had a sign saying you used the tunnel at your own risk). In the
only single track tunnel we did use it appeared that traffic
in one direction had priority throughout as passing bays, which
were not marked, were all on one side.
The only road we encountered
that did need particular care was the one off Highway 10 to the
top of Sornfelli. The road leads to the military base on the
top of the mountain but is open to the public as far as a car
park just before the top. This road is quite a popular drive
and in places is steep, narrow and with limited visibility.
We had hoped to do
some walking in Faroe, but underfoot conditions and wind were
often against us. However most roads are traffic free and safe
to walk on. Faroese villages were originally connected by cairned
paths and we had hoped to explore some of these. Closer inspection
of some suggested that because they are now rarely used the routes
between cairns (which were not always distinct) are hard to follow.
One exception is the path from Tórshavn to Kirjkubøur
which is well used and a splendid walk. In many villages a path
leads into the pastures and often along the coast for some way.
Such paths are well worth exploring.
Faroe's hills may not be
high but they are wild country and need to be treated with respect.
Rapidly changing weather conditions and strong winds mean that
walking anywhere needs thought and planning.
A number of worthwhile
web sites are shown on the external links pages for Faroe.