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Skaleyjar Islands

Region: West Iceland
Coordinates: 65.45° N 22.65° W

About Skaleyjar Islands

This group of islands comprises of about 160 islands, islets and skerries. It covers the innermost part of the Inneyjar Islands and are closest to the mainland and is not as compact as the Svefneyjar Lands or the Latra Lands. Therefore fewer of them are accessible on foot during low tides. The home island is well sheltered by the myriad of islets and skerries and never experiences high seas. No documented sources are available on the first settlement of these islands.

Island Stora-Lyngey is separated from the home island by a very narrow channel, which dries up during low tides. Island Fagurey is among the largest of the West Islands. Historians have theorized about this island being the first one to be settled. It is rather unlikely because the home island offers much greater advantages and the traces of human occupation seem to date much further back. According to a legend, the island was abandoned when it became haunted or as a result of the bubonic plague.

Islands Skaleyjar are mentioned once in the Sturlunga Saga. Legends about supernatural beings, mostly the elves or hidden people are common and can be found in the Folk Tales of Jon Arnason. There are few descriptions of incidences between the hidden and human population of the islands, which suggests that both were friendly and good natured.

The advantages of the islands comprised of eider down and egg collecting, baby seal and bird hunting. During the period 1967-77, the islands were only exploited during summer, but since then the home island has been inhabited. The distance to the nearest spot on the mainland, Haugsnes, is about 7 kilometres.

Photo Credit: Salvor

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