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Bolungarvík in Hornstrandir

About Bolungarvík in Hornstrandir

Precipitous mountains and steep screes frame cove Bolungarvik. To the north is Mt Skardsfjall (502 m) and in the south Mt Bolungarvikurbjarg. It is, however, rather wide and short. Its lowland area is considerable and partly boggy. Cove Drangsvik cuts into the spit of land called Drangsnes and both names are derived from the most prominent dyke in the middle of the cove. The nearest cove is called Naust, which means a boat landing, which it certainly was, and reminders of the past, such as an old winch and ruins of houses. The sandy beach and most of the lowland area was created by the constant transport of material from the mountains by the river and brooks. The estuary of the river is forded during low tides and further inland is the so-called Church Ford, just above Lake Kirkjuvatn. These names suggest the existence of a church in the valley in the past. The coastal area is dotted with skerries, where seals lie basking and two of them were colonized by eider ducks, Storasker and Landsker.

Two farms stood in the valley in the past, Bolungarvikursel at the foot of Mt Skardsfjall (abandoned in 1944) and Bolungarvik on the southern side of the cove (abandoned in 1949). The most valuable advantage of the farms was the driftwood. Nowadays hikers in the area are offered sleeping bag accommodations, kitchen facilities showers and a camping site. It is also possible to arrange boat transport to or from Bolungarvik.

Just above the abandoned farm Bolungarvik are two stones occupied by elves. When the farms were still inhabited, the children were warned not to play too close to them and be careful not to disturb the elves. Once a group of teenagers did not heed those warnings and their parents were warned in their dreams to ask them to behave. The parents forwarded those warnings, but the children continued frolicking by the stones. The elves drove one of the boys mad and later he was found dead further inland in the mountain slopes.

Dvergasteinar (The Dwarf Boulders) are short distance below the Bolungarvikurheidi Moorland. They were occupied by dwarfs according to the tales of old men. Once a baby fell seriously ill at the farm and the weather was too bad to attempt fetching the physician. The parents eventually were out of resolve, when the father decided to try to get one of the dwarves to help. He went to the boulders and knocked. He had to wait for a long time in the bad weather before a door was opened. He asked the dwarf to help his child. The dwarf did not answer and closed the door only to appear soon again and ready to go with the farmer. He inspected the baby, gave it some medicine and used some ointments, which he then left behind. The baby soon recovered. The ointments were conserved for a long time and only used when everything else failed, and always with good results.