Seeing that I made this detour from Eyjafjörður fjord into Hörgárdalur valley and Öxnadalur valley to tell you the ghost story of the Deacon of Dark River, I must add some photos of my all time favourite mountain in Iceland, Mt. Hraundrangi.
It is an absolutely stunning mountain, like something out of a fairytale, a cathedral like mountain, and one just has to stop and admire it. It is called Mt. Hraundrangar or Mt. Hraundrangi (plural vs singular) and is ever so majestic. The pictures don't do it justice.
Below the mountain is the farm Hraun, which was the birthplace of the beloved Icelandic poet and natural scientist Jónas Hallgrímsson (1807-1845) who wrote some of Iceland's most beautiful poems.
Jónas Hallgrímsson was born at Hraun in Öxnadalur on the 16th of November in 1807, but moved to Steinsstaðir close by a year later, where he grew up. He died in Copenhgen in 1845, only 37 years old. His grave is at Þingvellir national park in South-Iceland, one of only 2 graves in the national park.
There is a lovely grove right by the main road in Öxnadalur valley - Jónas Memorial Grove (Jónasarlundur). It was consecrated in 1996 and dedicated to the memory of Jónas Hallgrímsson. The grove was consecrated that year in memory of the 150th anniversary of Jónas.
You will find a memorial stone in the Memorial Grove with a low-relief of Jónas. Inside the grove you will also find a view-dial, showing the names of the surrounding mountains. Although the trees have grown so much since the view-dial was put up that they are now totally blocking the view ;)
Now back to my favourite mountain. The name of the Hraundrangi mountain means Lava pillar or Lava spire. These mountains divide two valleys, Öxnadalur valley and Hörgárdalur valley.
Mt. Hraundrangi is 1.075 meters above sea-level and was believed to be unscalable, but in 1956 three climbers conquered the mountain, 2 Icelanders from the Icelandic Air Ground Rescue Team and a Lieutenant of the US Air Force. It took them 6 hours to climb the peaks and the surface on top of the peak was less than half a m2.
Since then the mountain has been climbed many times and in 1991 eleven people mounted it on the same occasion. Something around 150 people have now managed to climb this magnificent peak.
A folklore tells us about a keg filled with money in the peaks and the one first climbing the peaks would get that keg. The first climbers didn't find any trace of that keg - was there maybe someone who had preceded them...?
Another legend tells us of Grettir Ásmundarson, the hero of the Icelandic Grettis Saga, climbing the mountain and leaving his knife and belt up there.
Cars often stop in the middle of the road when people spot this beautiful mountain and stop to admire it, as it all of a sudden appears. But if you drive a little further on your right-hand side you will find a driveway where you can stop and take pictures. A little bit further on you will also find a driveway on your left-hand side and can get out of the car there. It is so worth it, it is just breathtaking.
No matter how many times I visit North Iceland I always stop and admire this mountain and take photos.
There is another way of seeing the mountain and that is to drive behind the mountains into Hörgárdalur valley and see Mt. Hraundrangi from there - from Myrká where the grave of the Deacon of Dark river is located. The mountain looks equally magical from Hörgárdalur valley, the less seen side of it.
As you can see from the photos, which are taken over a period of several years, I just cannot get enough of this mountain. I wish I had had a better camera when I took the last photo as it was breathtaking seeing the peaks flooded with sunlight.
To reach this area you can rent a car in Reykjavík and drive up north - Mt. Hraundrangi is 372 km away from the capital city.
You will also find many self-drive tours to choose from with a detailed itinerary, car and accommodation included, if you plan on driving the whole ring-road.
Once up north there are many interesting guided tours from Akureyri in North-Iceland to choose from.
This is part IV in my series of travel-blogs on Eyjafjörður fjord - please join me on a tour of this longest fjord of Iceland: