Grettir the Strong and Grettisbæli Lair in Hítardalur Valley in West Iceland
In my last travel-blog I told you about Hítardalur valley in West Iceland and the giantess Hít who invited the trolls of Iceland to an eventful Christmas party.
In this travel-blog I want to tell you about Grettir the Strong Ásmundarson, whom we read about in the Saga of Grettir and his 3-year stay in the triangular-shaped Grettisbæli in Mt. Fagraskógarfjall in Hítardalur valley.
Top photo: Mt. Fagraskógarfjall and Grettisbæli
Mt. Fagraskógarfjall and Grettisbæli - Staðarhraunskirkja church in the foreground
Grettir sterki - Grettir the strong (approx. 996) was the longest surviving outlaw in Viking times in Iceland, and we Icelanders root for him while reading his saga, which was written in the 14th century.
Grettir was an outlaw for almost 20 years, which seems to have been the maximum penalty for outlaws, even though we cannot find any old laws to confirm this.
But I guess that it was thought to be penalty enough to survive as an outlaw for 20 years during the cold and dark winters in my country.
Mt. Fagraskógarfjall and Grettisbæli - I zoomed in on Grettisbæli but will try to hike on it next summer
For 3 years Grettir had a lair in Grettisbæli by Mt. Fagraskógarfjall in Hítardalur valley.
Björn Hítdælakappi from Bjarnar saga Hítdælakappa allowed Grettir to stay in the mountain, but not everybody was happy to have an outlaw staying so close to their farm.
It was not easy being an outlaw in Iceland, having to find food while people were hunting you like prey.
And it was especially not easy for Grettir who was very afraid of the dark ever since he killed the ghost Glámur, who haunted and killed people and animals in Vatnsdalur valley in West Iceland.
My father-in-law Jakob hiked on Grettisbæli and allowed me to use his photos for my travel-blog
Grettir lived at Bjarg in Miðfjörður in North Iceland close to Vatnsdalur valley, and his great-great-grandfather was Ingimundur gamli, who had settled in Vatnsdalur.
You can read about Ingimundur and his descendants in the Vatnsdæla saga, which is also a very interesting saga.
When Grettir was fighting Glámur, Glámur fell on his back, and the moon lit up his face and he gave Grettir a sharp look. Grettir was 20 years old when he fought Glámur and he said later on that this was the only sight that had startled him in his life.
Horses in Vatnsdalur in North Iceland where Grettir killed Glámur
Glámur put a spell on Grettir that he would be hunted by his eyes for the rest of his life, and would find it difficult to be alone. And from then on when darkness fell Grettir said that he saw all kinds of phantoms.
So we can just imagine what it must have been like for Grettir to be alone for years in his lairs, especially in limited daylight during the wintertime.
In beautiful Vatnsdalur valley in North Iceland
After Grettir managed to kill Glámur he was considered to be the strongest and most valiant man in Iceland.
But Glámur, before he died, put another spell on Grettir, that he would not grow any stronger than half the strength he was meant to have, that he would have no fortune in life and live a life of battle and misery.
From then on everything started to go downhill for Grettir.
The view of Hítardalur valley from Grettisbæli where you can see the avalanche which fell in 2018. Photo credit Jakob Hálfdanarson
I want to tell you the story of Grettir in Hítardalur valley as it is one of my favourite accounts in the Grettis saga.
It is very graphic and every time I drive to Snæfellsnes I think about this story.
The story of Grettir's time in Hítardalur valley is told in the Saga of Grettir the Strong chapters 58-60.
Some time into Grettir's outlawry after he had stayed for many years in different lairs in Iceland, Grettir approached Björn Hítdælakappi and sought shelter with him, as it was known that Björn often sheltered outlaws.
Bjarni Hítdælakappi had another farm by Lake Hítarvatn
Björn told Grettir that he could stay in a protruding mountain in Mt. Fagraskógarfjall - from then on called Grettisbæli.
Grettisbæli is a 426 meters tall triangular-shaped mountain top protruding from the southeast part of Mt. Fagraskógarfjall.
In the 19th chapter of Bjarnar saga Hítdælakappa, we are told that above the farm Vellir, where Bjarni lived (he had 2 farms for some time, also at Hólmur by Lake Hítarvatn) Grettir hid in Grettisbæli.
Grettir is only mentioned in the 19th chapter of that saga. The main story is told in Grettissaga, which is among the longest of the Icelandic sagas.
Bjarni Hítdælakappi was killed here at Hvítingshjallar by his enemy Þórður from Hítarnes
Bjarni and Grettir are said to have tested their strength and turned out to be equally strong, which proves that Bjarni was very strong, as Grettir was the strongest man in Iceland at that time ever since Ormur Stórólfsson and Þórálfur Skólmsson stopped testing their strength.
Grettir lived in Grettisbæli for three winters without being caught and a very high reward was promised to the one who would be able to catch Grettir.
My father-in-law marked the names of the mountains and mountain pass
He stole sheep from the farmers, so they were not happy about him staying in the valley.
Now, introduced to the story is Gísli Þorsteinsson, who was a strong and self-praising man.
Gísli had been out sailing for the winter and upon hearing that Grettir was hiding in Grettisbæli lair in Hítardalur valley, he wanted to try to catch Grettir.
Did Grettir spot Gisli and his men from here? Photo credit Jakob Hálfdanarson
He conversed with Þórður from Hítarnes, the enemy and slayer of Björn Hítdælakappi, and told him his plan of catching Grettir.
Björn's friends overheard this plan and Grettir was warned. Gísli arrived with 2 other men, all dressed up in coloured clothes and enameled shields, as Gísli wanted to show Grettir that they were men of importance and not average wayfarers.
When Grettir saw these men he came running down the mountain and grabbed a bag of clothes from Gísli's saddle.
They attacked him and Grettir ended up killing Gísli's 2 companions but Gísli himself threw his weapons and fled with Grettir following him.
Gísli was boastful but not the most courageous of men and had hidden behind his 2 companions, so Grettir didn't hold him in such high regard, as Gísli had wanted.
Gísli ran and ran away from Grettir, and shed more and more clothes during his flight until Gísli was in his linen underwear while still frantically running westward with Grettir on his heels.
Huge dykes in Grettisbæli - photo credit Jakob Hálfdanarson
The story tells us (in the 59th chapter) that Grettir didn't run too fast to give Gísli a break. While Grettir was leisurely running after Gísli he picked up a big twig.
Gísli ran above Kolbeinsstaðir farm, and ventured into the Borgarhraun lava field - see my travel-blog about A Hike to the perfectly shaped Eldborg Scoria Crater on Snæfellsnes in West Iceland.
Gísli didn't stop until he reached Haffjarðará river and was by now totally out of breath.
Mt. Kolbeinsstaðafjall is to the left - here you can see where Gísli ran and Grettir chased him
Grettir grabbed him as he was about to jump into the river, which was difficult to pass at this time of the year.
Grettir forcefully forced Gísli down on his knees and said: "Are you the Gísli who wanted to find Grettir Ásmundarson?"
Gísli answered: "I have found him, but I don't know yet how we will part, and take what you have already got (his clothes) but set me free."
Grettir said: "You don't seem to understand what I am telling you and I have to teach you a lesson".
Eldborg crater - somewhere around here Grettir chased Gísli - a bit further northwest of the crater
Grettir then pulled the linen shirt over Gísli's head and flogged him with the twig, on his back and both of his sides.
Gísli was wriggling but Grettir skinned him and set him free. Gísli learned his lesson this day that you never mess with Grettir the strong.
Grettir returned back to Grettisbæli and picked up the coloured clothes on his way back. Thus Gísli lost his fancy clothes, which he had worn to show Grettir that he was dealing with important people.
And Grettir the strong got some new fancy, coloured (dyed) clothes to wear.
Grettisoddi where the battle took place
Grettir continued to rob livestock from the farmers so they wanted him gone from the mountain.
They asked Þórður Kolbeinsson from Hítarnes for help and attacked Grettir with almost 20 men, while he was hoarding the farmers' sheep.
There was a battle between them and 10 men were killed and wounded, and in the end, they had to retreat. The spot where this battle took place is called Grettisoddi.
The farmers had had enough and Björn Hítdælakappi lost many of his friends for allowing Grettir to stay on while their (and his) kinsmen were unrevenged.
So Grettir left Grettisbæli and Hítardalur valley and went to stay with his friend Hallmundur, with whom he had stayed in a cave before he arrived in Hítardalur.
I am going to tell you more about his former and later hiding places in the next chapters.
Why was Grettir sentenced to outlawry?
Bjarg in North Iceland - the birthplace of Grettir
When Grettir was only a teenager (14) he was sentenced to exile for 3 years after killing a man for the first time, Skeggi by name. They had quarreled over a haversack, which they had both lost.
The reason why Grettir the Strong from Bjarg in Miðfjörður in North Iceland became an outlaw is that he was accused of starting a fire where 12 men died, including 2 brothers from Garður in Aðaldalur valley in North Iceland, Þorgeir and Skeggi.
The memorial for Grettir's mother, Ásdís at Bjarg, bas-reliefs by Halldór Pétursson
But Grettir was innocent and it was all a mistake. Grettir only wanted to ask these men to give him some fire, as he had run out.
The men mistook him for a troll as he was wearing a cloak and was all wet when he entered the hut where they were staying. They panicked and attacked him, and some of them hit him with firebrands.
Ásdís gave Grettir the family sword from Vatnsdalur when he went to Norway
During this panic, the fire spread. And Grettir was believed to have started the fire, thus killing all these men, and was treated like an outcast and said to be destined for misfortune (chapter 38 in Grettissaga).
This happened in Norway a little after Ólafur Haraldsson became the king of Norway and Grettir and the other Icelanders had wanted to greet the new king.
Grettistak rock at Bjarg - I think this is it, there were many rocks but this one looked like Grettistak
When Grettir returned to Iceland from Norway he got the news that his father was dead, his brother Atli at Bjarg had been slain by Þorbjörn öxnamegin, and that he himself was an outlaw in the whole of Iceland for the fire raising in Norway!
Grettir had to revenge his brother Atli and killed Þorbjörn öxnamegin and his son. Such were the times. Honour had to be restored to the family.
Þorbjörn öxnamegin put a sword through Atli at Bjarg
Þórir Skeggjason, the father of the two brothers from Aðaldalur was instrumental in sentencing Grettir to outlawry even though Grettir himself was not present to defend his case at Althing!!
Grettir was only 25 years old at the time and this was a heavy sentence to face.
And for almost 20 years Grettir had to hide in Grettisbæli lairs or in the highland, but it was difficult for him to be alone as he was so very afraid of the dark.
Rocks at Bjarg in Miðfjörður by the memorial of Ásdís, showing locations of events in Grettissaga
Being with other outlaws only meant trouble as many wanted to kill him for the bounty on his head.
A lot of money was promised for Grettir's head at Althing (6 merkur silfurs). Which turned into 9 later on when Þórir added to the amount.
Sometimes good people helped him or took him in, like Björn Hítdælakappi and many more around Iceland, like his kinsman Þorsteinn Kuggason at Árskógar, but the majority did not want to risk helping him.
Grettislaug at Reykhólar - an epic drawing of Grettir carrying the bull
Chieftain Þorgils Arason at Reykhólar in the Westfjords saw pity on Grettir and sheltered him for one winter after he killed Þorbjörn and his son (chapter 50).
It is very interesting reading about Grettir's adventures at Reykhólar including the account of him carrying a large bull on his shoulders.
I have written about Reykhólar and Grettir in another travel-blog: 3 days of fun at Reykhólar in the Westfjords Region - Part 1
Grettistak rock at Reykhólar - there are many such rocks in Iceland that Grettir supposedly lifted
Þorbjörg digra - the portly in Vatnsfjörður in the Westfjords of Iceland saved Grettir from hanging after he left Reykhólar (52nd chapter).
Þorbjörg the portly, the lady of the Vatnsfjörður estate, and the wife of Vermundur hinn mjóvi, saved Grettir after he created havoc and plundered this part of the Westfjords.
By now Grettir had become foolhardy and the farmers (30 of them) were able to apprehend him and wanted to hang him.
Grettisvarða cairn in Vatnsfjörður is huge
It was a close call for Grettir, nobody had wanted to keep him until the Chieftain Vermundur hinn mjóvi returned back home, so the farmers were at a loss and decided to hang him.
Fortunately, Þorbjörg came to the rescue and took him in.
She made him take an oath that he would not disturb the peace of the Westfjords nor take revenge on the farmers were she to save his life.
You can read about it in my travel-blog: Vatnsfjörður in the Westfjords of Iceland - the Viking Estate and Grettisvarða Cairn.
The information sign by Grettisvarða in Vatnsfjörður
Þorbjörg was not your average woman as she was not only married to Chieftain Vermundur hinn mjóvi from Eyrbyggja saga, but was also the daughter of Ólafur pá Höskuldsson from Laxdæla Saga and Þorgerður Egilsdóttir, who in turn was the daughter of Egill Skallagrímsson from Egil's Saga.
And her aunt was Hallgerður langbrók from Brennu-Njálssaga - the Saga of Burnt Njál.
I love how the Sagas intertwine. I have read them all and seek out the places in Iceland, where the sagas took place. I hope you enjoy travelling with me to these saga places :)
Soaking in the hot pool at Hveravellir geothermal area at Kjölur
Grettir then stayed at Kjölur and robbed passers-by. At Kjölur he stayed by Dúfunesskeið, which is close to the beautiful Hveravellir geothermal area, where he had access to hot water.
This area is nestled between two of Iceland's glaciers, Langjökull and Hofsjökull, and is accessible in the summertime. One of the glacier tongues in Langjökull is called Baldjökull, or Balljökull in Grettissaga.
Öskurhóll hot spring at Hveravellir
Later on, in the 18th century, another well-known outlaw Fjalla-Eyvindur also stayed at Hveravellir for a while with his wife Halla. They were also outlaws for 20 years.
I have written another travel-blog about Hveravellir - the beautiful Oasis in the Highland of Iceland where you can see the beautiful hot springs and remnants from outlaw times.
While Grettir was robbing passers-by at Kjölur he met a man who turned out to be of equal strength if not stronger than Grettir. He was to meet this man again later on.
Fagrihver hot spring at Hveravellir - isn't it pretty?
Next Grettir moved further west and stayed for 3 winters by Fiskivötn on Arnarvatnsheiði heath in the highland. He allowed outlaws to stay with him as he didn't want to be alone but 2 of them tried to kill him.
There he was attacked by Þórir at Garður, the father of the 2 brothers who had lost their lives in the fire in Norway. Þórir brought with him 80 men, 18 were killed and many were wounded before they retreated.
A man came to Grettir's rescue and defended his back while he was under attack, this turned out to be the giant Hallmundur, whom he had met at Kjölur, and was his equal in strength.
Did Hallmundarhellir cave look something like this? In Víðgelmir cave in Hallmundarhraun
The last place where Grettir stayed before coming to Hítardalur valley was in Hallmundarhellir cave by Balljökull glacier with the giant Hallmundur and his daughter.
Þórir continued to hunt Grettir down and sent men to kill him - and put a prize on his head. Revenge was expected in Iceland during the Viking age to restore the honour of the family.
And you were thought less of if you didn't revenge for the slaying of a family member and it was also believed that the dead person couldn't rest in peace until the family honour was restored.
Which meant that there was an ongoing cycle of revenge in Iceland at that time.
Extraordinary lava colours in Víðgelmir cave
I wonder what Hallmundarhellir cave might have looked like.
In Hallmundarhraun lava field you will find several of Iceland's largest caves, like the colourful Víðgelmir cave, which you can enter with guidance, and Surtshellir cave.
Many of these caves are so colourful that you feel like you have entered an art gallery.
Surtshellir cave in Hallmundarhraun lava field - the longest known lava tube in Iceland
These caves are massive and they are just the kind of hiding place you might imagine that outlaws would seek. Or trolls for that matter.
Grettir hid in all of these places prior to seeking shelter in Grettisbæl in Hítardalur valley.
Where did Grettir hide after he left Hítardalur valley?
The protruding rock Grettisbæli in Mt. Öxarnúpur in northeast Iceland
After leaving Hítardalur valley Grettir stayed in several other places, including with his friend Hallmundur again, before seeking refuge for 3 years on Drangey island in Skagafjörður in North Iceland.
He stayed in a valley between Geitlandsjökull and Þórisjökull glaciers. There he found a flock of big and fat sheep and built a lodge. Grettir named the valley Þórisdalur valley after the giant Þórir who lived in the valley.
Grettisbæli lair in Mt. Öxarnúpur in northeast Iceland where Grettir hid for a while
From there he went south and then wandered about the Eastfjords of Iceland, but nobody would take him in.
I would have loved to know more about the places in which he stayed in the Eastfjords, but the saga doesn't mention them.
From the Eastfjords, he went up north and stayed on Möðrudalsheiði and Reykjaheiði heaths.
Another Grettisbæli lair in Vígabjarg cliff in Jökulsárgljúfur canyon
During this time he might have stayed in Grettisbæli in Mt. Öxarnúpur and in Grettisbæli in Vígabjarg in Jökulsársgljúfur canyon, which you can see in the photos.
These locations are not mentioned in Grettissaga, but there are stories that passers-by avoided going in front of Mt. Öxarnúpur when Grettir stayed in Grettisbæli, and choose the route behind the mountain.
I have written another travel-blog about Grettisbæli in Mt. Öxarnúpur: Grettisbæli - the Lair of the Viking Grettir the Strong in Öxarnúpur in North-East Iceland
Vígabjarg in Jökulsárgljúfur canyon where Grettir had a lair
Whenever Þórir found out about the whereabouts of Grettir, he hunted him down. But Grettir managed to evade him and trick him.
One of the places in which he stayed while up north was Bárðardalur valley, where he had some adventures (chapters 64-66). Bárðardalur valley was haunted by a troll, who kidnapped people on Christmas Eve.
When Grettir heard of the predicaments in the valley he offered his help, as such things were not unknown to him.
He was in disguise and told them that his name was Gestur. On Christmas Eve a giantess entered the farm as she had done for the past 2 years. Grettir managed to kill the troll.
You can read about it in my travel-blog about the adventures of Grettir in Bárðardalur valley: Grettir the Strong and the Troll in the Waterfall - a Viking Saga from North Iceland
Goðafoss waterfall in Skjálfandafljót river
And in Bárðardalur valley Grettir fathered his only son, Skeggi, or at least the boy resembled him and became the strongest man in North Iceland. His mother was Steinvör at Sandhaugar farm, with whom Grettir had stayed in Bárðardalur.
Unfortunately, Skeggi died when he was 16 years old so Grettir doesn't have any descendants, i.e. if Skeggi Steinvararson was in fact his son.
I am a descendant of Grettir's great-grandfather, Ófeigur "grettir" Einarsson, and of Ingimundur gamli, Grettir's great-great-grandfather.
Möðruvellir in Eyjafjörður where Guðmundur ríki lived
Grettir stayed in Bárðardalur valley for the winter, but when Þórir in Garður heard that Grettir was staying in the valley, Grettir had to leave.
Þórir lived close by in Aðaldalur valley, so Grettir had to flee in haste.
He sought refuge at Möðruvellir in Eyjafjörður - the noted Guðmundur ríki - the rich, lived there. Guðmundur is a very well-known man from the sagas, and you can read about him in Ljósvetninga saga and many other sagas.
He could not help Grettir but told him to hide on Drangey island.
Grettir stayed by Brökkubrekka in the vicinity of the prominent Mt. Baula for the summer
But Grettir feared being alone on this island, which is just a rock in the sea, a large rock, but it is so steep that it is only accessible by stairs.
Which made it a great fortress for as long as the stairs were pulled up nobody could attack Grettir.
Grettir went to Bjarg to greet his mother and stayed for the summer by Bröttubrekka in Dalir in West Iceland. And again he robbed passers-by and stole livestock from the farmers.
Guðrúnarlaug in Sælingsdalur valley
There Þóroddur Snorrason ventured to kill Grettir to please his father - the noted Chieftain Snorri goði, whom we read about in Eyrbyggja saga and numerous other sagas. Snorri lived in Sælingsdalur valley.
But Grettir, not wanting to kill the son of Snorri goði, talked sense into Þóroddur and told him, after Þóroddur had tried to attack him, that killing Grettir was not child's play. By doing this he made a friend in Snorri goði, which was a sensible thing to do.
Ásdís at Bjarg says her final farewell to her sons, Grettir and Illugi
Now Grettir went to his mother at Bjarg and hid for a while. But hiding in the home of your mother was risky and Grettir had to leave for Drangey.
But he was not alone on Drangey island as his brother, Illugi (15), offered to stay with him knowing how afraid of the dark Grettir was.
Their brother Atli had been killed at the front door at Bjarg and now Ásdís had to see her 2 other sons leave, for good, knowing instinctively that they would be killed together on Drangey island. Her dreams had warned her of this.
Glaumbær farm in Skagafjörður
The 2 brothers went north to stay with their kinsmen for a while. They then rode to Skagafjörður, where Drangey island stands tall in the sea.
At Glaumbær farm in Skagafjörður, a man asked if he could stay with them on the island and work for them. This was Þorbjörn glaumur.
His demeanour amused Grettir and off they went the 3 them to Reykir at Reykjaströnd from where there is the shortest distance to Drangey island.
Reynistaður in Skagafjörður
On the way, they stayed for the night at Reynines (now Reynistaður) where the noted Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir lived. She is believed to have been the most widely-travelled woman in the middle ages.
Grettir bribed Þorvaldur the farmer at Reykir with the money he got from his mother, and got a boat ride to Drangey island.
Grettir killed on Drangey island
Grettisbæli on Drangey island in North Iceland in thick fog
When Grettir, Illugi, and Glaumur came to Drangey Grettir had been an outlaw for 15-16 years. They saw that some 80 sheep were grazing on the island, as this was the grazing land for the sheep of the 20 farmers who owned the island.
Drangey is a bird cliff so they had plenty to eat on the island in the summertime.
After 2 years they had eaten all the sheep, but they kept a pet, the ram Hösmagi, who they thought was so entertaining that they didn't eat it. My guess is that Hösmagi was a forystusauður - a leader sheep, which is a unique breed of Icelandic sheep.
When I visited Drangey we encountered thick fog, which made our visit quite eerie. We had very little visibility and by Grettisbæli I sat listening to the guide pondering on the time Grettir stayed on this rocky island.
Seeing that I only have foggy photos of the island then I want to show you a video from a reconstruction of Grettisbæli in Drangey.
The owners of the island pleaded with Grettir to leave, but he was adamant to stay and keep their sheep.
Hegranesþing local assembly - Drangey island in the distance
And he was even so forward as to attend the Hegranesþing local assembly in disguise and again he used the name Gestur.
Here he tricked them into giving him amnesty while he was at the assembly and took part in the wrestling games. And again the owners of the island pleaded with him to leave, but in vain.
Þorbjörn öngull at Viðvík started buying parts of the island from the other owners, but they sold him their part for a small price under the condition that he would kill Grettir or chase him out of the island.
Soaking in Grettislaug at Reykir - a replica of a pool in which Grettir baked after the long swim
It once happened that they were lacking fire on Drangey island, and Grettir swam ashore to Reykir farm - approximately 7 km in the cold sea!
When he reached the shore he baked in the hot geothermal pool by Reykir for the longest time to warm up. Þorvaldur at Reykir gave him fire and a lift to Drangey.
Þorbjörn öngull kept pleading with Grettir to leave and managed to send a man to the island to kill Grettir. Illugi killed the man.
At one time Glaumur didn't pull up the ladder so the coast was clear for Grettir's enemies to attack Grettir.
A ladder on Drangey island - it is very steep and the fog made it even scarier
At that time Grettir had become very ill from an infection in his foot, which was a result of Grettir chopping up a piece of wood that came ashore.
The tree was cursed by Þorbjörn's foster mother, Þuríður, and the axe made a wound in Grettir's leg. Þuríður had also cursed Grettir on a prior occasion, which startled Grettir immensely.
Visiting Drangey island in thick fog at solstice - we did not see the midnight sun ;)
Þorbjörn öngull and his men attacked Grettir who was fatally ill in bed and killed him. Þorbjörn cut his head off with Grettir's own sword as proof and presented it to his mother Ásdís at Bjarg.
Illugi, Grettir's brother, was also killed as he refused to make an oath not to revenge Grettir.
I have written more about Grettir in Drangey in my travel-blog: Drangey Bird Cliff in North Iceland and the Viking Grettir the Strong
Þorbjörn öngull threw Grettir's head in front of his mother at Bjarg :( Memorial at Bjarg
It is difficult to read this part of Grettissaga, as we root for Grettir and Illugi :(
Grettir was 44 years old when this happened and his brother Illugi was only 18 years old. Grettir had been an outlaw since he was only 25 years old.
Þorbjörn öngull was accused at Alþingi of having used sorcery to kill Grettir and to have killed him while he was fatally wounded. He was banished from Iceland for this terrible act.
Skeggi, Grettir's nephew fetched the bodies of Grettir and Illugi and buried them by the church at Reykir, but Grettir's head was buried by the church at his home, Bjarg.
Mt. Fagraskógarfjall and Grettisbæli - photo taken in 2022
In Íslendingabók Grettir is said to have lived around 996-1040, and in Grettissaga he is said to have been 44 years old when he was killed.
But in Grettissaga it is also mentioned that Snorri goði died while Grettir was on Drangey island. Snorri died in 1030. So what is the correct year of the death of Grettir?
This travel-blog has almost turned into a book and I have only told you some of the highlights of Grettir's life. Sorry about this, I am just a big fan of the sagas :)
Grettisbæli in Hítardalur valley
Next summer I am going to hike on Grettisbæli in Hítardalur with my husband and my father-in-law and take my own photos of Grettisbæli. I am not much of a mountain hiker but they promised to push me up the mountain :)
Here are the links to my other travel-blogs about Grettir and his lairs:
Grettisbæli - the Lair of the Viking Grettir the Strong in Öxarnúpur in North East Iceland
Drangey Bird Cliff in North Iceland and the Viking Grettir the Strong
Grettir the Strong and the Troll in the Waterfall - a Viking Saga from North Iceland
I highly recommend reading the story about Grettir the Strong. Have a lovely time in Iceland :)
Grettissaga (Icelandic version) - the Saga of Grettir (English version)
Þjóðsögur Jóns Árnasonar - II (bls. 97-99)
See more blogs
Chasing Waterfalls in Iceland
Sænautasel Turf House in the Highland of Iceland
The Dynamic Plant Lupine
Secret waterfall on the South Coast
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