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Heimaklettur Mountain

Region: South Iceland
Coordinates: 63.4490271° N 20.2640753° W

This low mountain is one of the northern outposts of the Heimaey Island. It along with the mountains Yztiklettur and Dalfjall represents the geologically oldest parts of the island, probably 10.000 years old. Their main structure is hyaloclastite with some mixture of basaltic lava on top. On a fine day, the view from the top of Heimaklettur is excellent, but the way up there is rather steep with two wooden ladders to make the ascent easier.

Where the northern harbor wall starts, the sandbank is called the Temple Spit. It is assumed, that it was named after a pagan temple, which stood there before Christianity was accepted. According to the Saga of King Olaf Tryggvason of Norway, two of the leading Christian chieftains of the country brought a shipload of wood for a church on the island as a gift from the king in the year 1000.

Klettsvik and Keiko

A well-vegetated part of the northern slopes of Heimaklettur was named Dufthekja after one of the slaves, who slew the first settler of the country, Hjorleifur Hrodmarsson. He ran up the mountain to get away his pursuers, the men of Hjorleifur’s blood brother, and fell to his death over the cliffs below the slopes. The isthmus between Heimaklettur and Klif was named after the rest of the slaves, who were caught and killed there.

Further east, at the foot of Midklettur is the cove Klettsvik, where Keiko was placed in its pen in 1998. Five years later (2003) the animal was released under supervision and followed to Norway, where it spent its time until it died of a sudden pneumonia on November 12th 2003 at the estimated age of 27. Still further east, at the foot of Yztiklettur is the cave Klettshellir, which is popular among those, who participate in the sightseeing tours by boat. The cave accommodates smaller vessels and every time the tourist boats are en route, they enter the cave for a short musical experience. The acoustics in the cave are excellent.

Heimaklettur is on the Saga trail for South Iceland.

Photo Credit: Hansueli Krapf

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