Mt. Arnarfell (1143m) is almost engulfed by the
southeastern part of Glacier
but very prominent. Its upper part is precipitous and the lower part has
steep screes. The southern slopes are unbelievably well vegetated for this
elevation, 700-800 m above sea level. Above the 800 m level, a blanket of
moss covers the slopes, but below plants such as willow, wood crane’s
bill, angelica, roseroot, grass and bog whortleberry thrive extremely
well. Altogether 97 species of plants have been discovered there. The view
from the top of Mt. Arnarfell is excellent on a fine day. The Mt.
Arnarfell Smaller (1140m) is situated a bit further west.
Arnarfellsalda is a prominent mound in the bogs of
close to the Arnarfellsmular moraines. Ruins of a small hut by the mound
remind us of the last two outlaws of the country. Two labourers of a farm
in the Southwest, who had been sentenced to servitude for theft, decided
to try to escape the punishment and fled into the interior.
There they built a small shelter to wait for the
chance to escape permanently, but were caught four
days later and sent to Denmark to serve their sentences. One of them
later went to the USA, became a Mormon, and returned to Iceland as a
missionary. There are still clear tracks of the ancient Arnarfell Route just
north of the mound. It was a part of the much-travelled
Route, but only used in cases when the ford
Soleyjarhofdavad was impassable.
Arnarfellsmular are a row of moraines at the
edge of the large glacier tongue Mulajokull, which has been busy creating
them during the millenniums, and has retreated considerably since then. The
moraines closest to the glacier are almost barren, but the ones
farthest east are well vegetated.
Farther away are areas even more vegetated
than the Arnarfell Slope. It is amazing how large and wide
spread the roseroot gets there. According to documents from
1762, some men travelling there discovered a dugout, which
most probably belonged to the famous outlaw Mountain-Eyvind.
It was stocked with provisions for the winter, mutton, and
horsemeat. They found traces of the sudden departure of the
inhabitants and followed the tracks of five horses leading
to the glacier. The hut was demolished and the provisions
HIGHLAND ICELAND SAGA