name refers to the largest lava area of the country (5600 km²).
Its boundaries are: The Vatnajökull glacier in the south, river
Skjalfandafljot in the west, river Jokulsa in the east and in the
north they are rather vague. The northern elevation of the area
is about 400 m above sea level but in the south about 800 m.
Quite a few freestanding mountains and a massif rise above this
plateau, such as Herdubreid (1682m) and Dyngjufjoll (Askja). The
lava fields are relatively easy to travel if people show foresight and
carry water supplies with them, when hiking through the area.
The only problem is the lack of water in the permeable lava fields.
This part of the
country had not yet been explored, when the Englishman William Lord Watts was
crossing the icecap Vatnajökull in 1875. When he and his Icelandic
companions arrived at the northern edge of the glacier, they witnessed
the enormous eruption of Askja and reported it to the people at lake
Myvatn. A few tales and one of the sagas, Hrafnkel's Saga, mention a
route through the area in connection with the so-called Sprengisandur
route. People have been searching for the old route through Odadahraun
and it has most likely been found.
HIGHLAND ICELAND SAGA