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KALMANSTUNGA – KATANES

Region: West Iceland
Coordinates: 64.6939° N 20.997° W

Farm Katanes was originally the settlement of Kalman the South Islander, who moved further inland after the drowning of his two sons in the Whale Sagas of IcelandBay, and built his second farm at Kalmanstunga. In the late 19th century a myth about a monster in lake Katanestjorn started spreading, and many wanted to see it. The governor hired a photographer, Sigfus Eymundsson, to catch it on film, and Andres Fjeldsted to kill it. The two men never saw the monster, and the governor refused to pay Andres for his trouble and was sued. The lake was drained and disappeared.

The community company Faxafloi Harbours bought the property in 2006 to prepare for the extension of the harbour of the aluminium smelter and ferro alloy works.

Kalmannstunga. The farm was named after the Irish settler Kalman. Just west of the farm is the rhyolite hill Tunga. Two farms, Brenna and Bjarnastadir were at the foot of the hill in the past. Mr. Kari Kylansson was killed at Brenna by his enemies and arsonists. Mr. Knud Zimsen, the mayor of Reykjavik, built his summer residence Bjarkargil in 1940 nearby. A church was built at farm Bjarnastadir and many people were buried in its cemetery. A church stood at Kalmanstunga until 1812. East of Kalmanstunga, at the foot of Mt. Strutur was the farm Kotlutun or Sturlustadir. Above the ruins is Stori-Ketill, where the mythological hot spring Skrifla was originally, before it moved in three steps to Reykholt, because the bloodstained clothes of a murdered man were washed in it.

The Kalmans Cave. Farmer Kalman Stefansson explored this cave in the Hallmundur lava field, just north of Tristapafell in Jokulkrokur. It is about one kilometre long, rough and difficult to enter, because of collapsed ceilings. Its end was closed by ice and a long part of it on two floors. The ceiling of the ground floor is very unsave in many places. Visitors have to take into account, that earthquakes are common in the West.

Vopnalag is four kilometres to the east of Cave Surtshellir and south of river Nordlingafljot on the Kalmanstunga property. There the farmers of Borgarfjordur surprised the outlaws occupying the cave. A farmers son from Kalmanstunga stayed under cover with the outlaws for a while and gained their confidence. He managed to get down to the inhabited area to warn the farmers, who gathered troops. The outlaws had rounded up their sheep and rested in Vopnalag, where the farmers found them. Many of them were killed on the spot, others fleeing, but Eirikur the one legged escaped across glacier Eiriksjokull and got away from the country by sea. Vopnalag is a green spot, shaped like a horse shoe.

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