Saga of hrunting and thebruce
An Icelandic Winter Road Trip
Best laid plansContinents and CavesReykjavikian ambianceWaterfalls and sunsetsHuman wrecks and legaciesKristinartindar: The Journey is the RewardThe finding of firsts, and birthday peaceThe endurance of history in SnæfellsnesThe edge of the EarthAn unexpected discoveryCommunity, love, betrayal, and sharksThe adventure comes full circle
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The edge of the Earth

One the best aspects of having a flexible schedule and striking out on your own is that you get to discover places completely unexpectedly. Take a drive, keep an eye open, and enjoy the freedom of the road. You might come across astounding sites you want to visit, and you'll have the time to do so. Be sure to budget in that flexibility!

The Lóndrangar


Heading out from Laugarbrekka, that strange and enormous structure I spotted in the distant haze on the horizon was a pair of columns, stacks of lava, eroded away from remains of a larger crater on the mainland. It's a very strange sight - vast flat ground, and sitting just at the edge of the ocean, jagged rock columns jutting up out the earth. It looks so unnatural.

The name is plural for lóndrangur/drangi ('inlet/lagoon column'). The two stacks are 75m and 61m high, and indeed have been scaled, the taller first in 1735 and the shorter in 1938.

Hrunting and I pulled into the nearby parking area, seeing that some of the viewing area was under minor construction. I headed up the hill to the lookout area, Svalþúfa ('high mound/knoll'), which ended at a cliff named Þúfubjarg ('tussock cliffs') with a beautiful view of the Lóndrangar. Þúfubjarg is part of another crater remains being eroded away by the ocean waves.

At the top of Þúfubjarg, looking down at the island, and across to the Lóndrangar
To the right, the crater wall Þúfubjarg with the island out front.

Just out from the base of the cliff where the center of the crater would be is a little island, a central stone. On it, it's said that Kolbeinn jöklaskáld (the 'glacier poet') had an encounter with the Devil and beat him in a verse–making contest. The two competed all night, each composing two lines to which the other had to respond with a rhyme, or be thrown over the cliff. Finally Kolbeinn recited:
"Horfðu í þessa egg egg; undir þetta tungl, tungl"
to which the devil could not rhyme, claiming it was no longer poetry. Kolbeinn continued though, reciting:
"Ég steypi þér þá með legg legg / lið sem hrærir ungl- ungl-"
-- and devil was cast over the cliff.

The best translation I could determine seems to read something along the lines of: “Look into this blade, blade / Beneath this moon, moon"..."I throw you to that place, place / With a flick of my {wrist, wrist}” - and the devil was cast over the cliff. Though the last lines don't seem to translate well by any source - 'wrist' is a different word, úlnliður, although the first part of the word rhymed leaving the phrase to be finalized by action - I like the idea that Kolbeinn was making the act of beating the devil part of the poetry itself - tricking the devil who stuck only to words, outwitted by the brilliant Kolbeinn. That was the story at Þúfubjarg, of Kolbeinn jöklaskáld, with the Lóndrangar in sight.

The region here is Drangsvogur ('column inlet/cove'), a coastal area that used to be a natural harbour for fishing vessels, but is now quite dangerous with the sharp, sheer cliffs and chaotic waves below. There is a trail that leads to the Lóndrangar for a closer exploration, but I didn't have time to make the 1km trek there and back, especially with the amount of time I was using taking photographs!

Skarðsvík Beach


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