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Island Grimsey on the Steingrimsfjordur Bay

Region: Strandir
Coordinates: 65.6827° N 21.3013° W

Island Grimsey on the Steingrimsfjordur Bay is the largest off the Strandir District’s coastline. A long time ago, the island was inhabited, but since it was abandoned only fishermen’s outfits were operated during winter for a few decades.  The lighthouse was built in 1915 and destroyed in a German air raid during the Second World War.  It was rebuilt in 1949.

The island was named after the Norwegian Grimur, who arrived with his family and domestics to settle in Iceland.  Those people spent the first winter on the Island.  Once the following winter, he was fishing with his son and some workers on the bay and caught a merman.  He promised to release him if he told him his fortune.  The merman looked at his son, who lay on a sealskin in the stern and told Grimur, that he could only tell the son’s fortune, which he did.  Later in winter Grimur and his workers perished at sea and his son, Thorir, moved with the rest of the people to the Skalmarnes peninsula in the Breidafiord Bay area as prophesized and spent the next winter there.  The mare Skalm, after which the peninsula was named, stood the whole winter in its stable and was used with other horses for the move south the next spring.  Eventually the mare was exhausted in a barren area at the roots of the Snaefell’s Peninsula as prophesized and Thorir decided to settle on the spot.  He named his farm Raudamelur ytri and became a prominent personality in the society as can be read in the Sagas, where he is known by the name Sel-Thorir.

According to the legend, the island was created, when one of the giants, who were trying to separate the Westfiord area from the mainland, stuck his shovel down and loosened a piece of the coastline, which skipped onto the bay.  The cove left behind fits well to the northern shoreline of the island.  All three giants worked during the night at the separation, as they could not stay outdoors during the day.  They were too ambitious and were all struck by the first rays of the sun one morning and were petrified.  One stands near Drangsnes, which was named after the rock, and the others still stand on the Kollafiord Bay, a short distance to the south, where they were on their way back home early one morning after the digging on the western side of the Westfiord area.

For years on end, young foxes were transported to the island early in the summer and bred there for their skins.  They were killed the following winter when the pelts were most valuable.  Freshwater supplies are limited on the island.  A cold spring in the cliffs on the western part was consecrated by Bishop Gudmundur the Good and has never dried up.  The island boasts of a large colony of puffins and trips there are on offer from the hamlet Drangsnes and the farm Baer on Selstrond.
WESTFJORDS & STRANDIR SAGA TRAILS

Links in Island Grimsey on the Steingrimsfjordur Bay