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Svidnur Islands

Region: West Iceland
Coordinates: 65.4° N 22.65° W

About Islands Svidnur

The Svidnur islands belong to the so-called West Islands in the northwest corner of the Breidafiord Bay. They stretch to the south from the Skaleyjar Islands Home Island and comprise of about 23 islands and skerries. They are recognized for their natural beauty, wide panoramic view and myriads of birds and seals. The Svidnur Home Island is about a kilometre long like many of the other islands and the smallest farm of the Flatey County occupied it for centuries. No one knows exactly when those islands were settled, but they were abandoned in the wake of the bubonic plague in the 15th century to be re-settled later. Usually the occupants did not last very long and changes were frequent.

In 1840 a highly capable and clever farmer, Olafur Teitsson, took up residence on the Home Island and soon managed to build an exemplary business. In 1956, fire destroyed the farm and it was permanently abandoned. Many of the improvements of farmer Olafur are still very obvious, such as the walling and a high cairn from where it was possible to see all over the property and some other islands. Many legends are connected to Islands Svidnur. According to one of them, the first settler, Hallsteinn who lived at Hallsteinsstadir on the mainland, once caught his slaves dawdling when they were supposed to be working on salt making on one of the Svefneyjar Islands. He took them to Islands Svidnur and hanged them there. To remind us of this event, we still have the topographical names Gallow Cove and Gallow Rocks.

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