Berufjordur is located between the two bays Hamarsfjordur and Breiddalsvik, about 20 km long and 2-5 km wide. The most prominent mountain on the bay is Mt Bulandstindur, just west of the village Djupivogur on the southern side. The mouth of the bay is dotted with islets and skerries, but most oft the rest is clear. Oceanic currents are very evident in the bay. The southern shoreline is too sheer for farming, but the northern one is divided between a few farms along the whole shoreline. The mountains on the northern side are decorated with sharp and beautiful ridges and pinnacles and rhyolite intrusions are frequent and prominent. One of the rhyolitic sub-species is ignimbrite. It is greenish in colour and is created during violent, pyroclastic eruptions. A thick, narrow layer of ignimbrite can be traced down the mountain slopes into the sea on the northern side of the bay.
Farm Berufjordur is situated at the end of the bay. In earlier times it was a parsonage and during catholic times the churches were dedicated to St. Olaf, the king of Norway. The church at Berunes was annexed. The present church at farm Berufiord was built in 1874.
One of the few outstanding scholars of the country, Eirikur Magnusson (1833-1913), born at the farm Berufiord, became a librarian in Cambridge, England. He published quite a few books and translated Shakespeare’s Storm (1885), the Icelandic Lilja Poetry (1870) and Legends of Iceland (1864-66) among other works. He and William Morris also translated a few of the Icelandic Sagas into English. He was a true patriot and wrote and published many pamphlets on important national issues.
An ancient route over the mountains at the end of the bay down into the Landslide Valley (Skriddalur) called Oxi (The Axe) is passable now by all vehicles and shortens the way to and from the Egilsstadir town by several dozens of kilometres. Another popular bridle path of the past connected the Berufjordur area with the Wide Valley (Breiddalur) in the north. In 1951 an area of about 7 ha was fenced off for forestation purposes.
The name of the bay and a few other spots are derived from the name of the settler Bera. According to the legend, she, her husband Soti and their household went to a party in the Fljot Valley (near the present Egilsstadir town) one winter. On their way back, they were caught in a snowstorm and everybody perished en route except Bera, who let her horse find the way home. When they saw the houses, the horse galloped through the stable door and broke Bera’s neck.
In 1627, Algerian buccaneers first arrived in the East. They killed, robbed and burned down the farm at Berufjordur before heading west along the south coast. They picked up about 240 people from the Westman Islands for the slave market at home and at last they attempted to attack the abode of the governor in the Southwest without success.
East Iceland Saga Trail