Faroe and Iceland - Facts and Information
Getting around Faroe
Well surfaced, empty roads with suicidal sheep
Long tunnels - some unlit, some single track - and cairned paths over the hills.

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Arrival
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.

Sheep
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.

Walking
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.

More information
A number of worthwhile web sites are shown on the external links pages for Faroe.

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