Friday, September 28, 2018


I've spent the last few days at the farm of Helgafell, which is on Thorsnes peninsula in mid-west Iceland.

The farm has lots of sheep and produces excellent lamb, and there are two huts by the pond (or, small lake) that you can rent. The view from them is over the water and, to the right, towards Helgafell mountain (or, hill), which was first described in the medieval Icelandic Eyrbyggja saga as an entrance to Valhalla. The area was dedicated to Thor.

Later, the hill and the property around it acquired a Christian significance. Guðrún Ósvífursdóttir, whose life story is given in Laxdæla saga, ended her days here as Iceland's first nun. At the very beginning of the Christian period, the local chieftain Snorri goði built one of Iceland's first churches on the land once dedicated to Thor.

I've loved being here, and walking around the property and the extraordinary countryside around it. The farm is surrounded by lava fields and fissures, and volcanic stubs that seem to climb up from the bays nearby. Today, as I write, it's blowing a gale and hardly weather to go looking around. But on other days I've had wonderfully still conditions, and a good chance to watch the changing colours of the farm without having to rush back inside to get warm.

My map of the Helgafell farm

The nearby Berserk's Path
Some more thoughts here: