Hellisheidi is the lava area to the south of Mts Henglafjoll. The
eastern slopes of the area are called Kambar. Most of the lava area is
covered with moss, crow and blueberries and willow. The main road
around the country (# 1), which connects the capital area with the
southern part of the country, lies across Hellisheidi. The ancient
route, which is still very prominent because of the cairns, the lava hut
(1830) and the deep grooves worn into the lava by feet of domestic
animals and people travelling trough. The present road was opened for
traffic in 1972.
This pass (481 m) is located between Mt Moskardshnukar and Mt Skalafell.
It was the most common route between County Mosfellssveit and County
Kjos in the past until a road was built to the west along Mt Esja in
Moorland Mosfellsheidi (260 m.) stretches between Mt Esja and Mts
Henglafjoll and rises highest in Borgarholar, the craters of this vast
shield volcano, which created the Reykjavik dolerite during a warm epoch
of the late Ice Age. Ancient and new routes cross the moorland between
Valley Mosfellsdalur and the National Part Thingvellir.
Uxahryggir are an ancient route crossing the undulating landscape
between the lakes Reydarvatn and Uxavatn. It starts at the crossing of
the Kaldidalur Route near Brunnar and Hallbjarnarvordur and continues to
Valley Lundareykjadalur in the west. The present road passes near Lake
Uxavatn, which is a good fishing lake. It is the source of the stream
Saeluhuskvisl, which runs allt the way to Lake Sandkluftavatn during the
The Cold Valley route is the shortest of the three main roads across the
central highlands from south to north. It crosses between the mountain
Ok and The Long Glacier and its highest point lies 727 m above sea
level. Usually it is passable for most types of vehicles three to five
months of the year. Like the other mountain routes, The Cold Valley
route was very busy in the past, especially between the highest located
farms in the West and the Parliamentary Plains area. It was the first
one to be made permanent with road building in 1830. The view from the
highest lying points enroute is excellent on a fine day. A few legends
and Sagas are connected with this part of the country. A side road to
the east from the main route leads to a hut at the edge of The Long
Glacier, where the glacier tours on snow scooters or snowmobiles start.
Geldingadragi is a mountain pass between the valleys Skorradalur and
Svinadalur. It was and is a much travelled route from the crossing near
farm Ferstikla on the Whale Bay. The name of the pass was derived from
the Hardar Saga and Holmverja.
This is an ancient route across the Moorland Arnarvatnsheidi, which
continued to the Huna and Skagafjordur Districts. Starting from the
west, it lies over a part of the lava field Hallmundarhraun past the
lava cave Surtshellir, fording River Nordlingafljot, over the hill
Thorvaldshals to the end of the Holmavik cove of Lake Arnarvatn. There
it forks towards the aforementioned destinations. In the past, convoys
of horses laden with dried fish and people seeking work, students, and
those who were on their way to the Parliamentary Plains frequented this
route during summer. The old route is still very conspicuous in many
The heaths in the northwest corner of the central highlands,
Arnarvatnsheidi and Tvidaegra, are the ultimate paradise for people, who
treasure tranquillity, relaxation and angling for brown trout and lake
char. The lakes up there are considered innumerable and many a family
has enjoyed spending a part of its vacations in those beautiful
surroundings. Most of the lakes abound in fish and a few of the best
salmon rivers of the country originate there. In earlier times, the
farmers fished the lakes the whole year round, as a part of their
livelihood and the catch has always been good. The farmers also
collected edible and wholesome lichens and grazed their sheep and horses
up there during summer. They also hunted birds up there and still do.
The area is also highly interesting for the bird watchers. A few
outlaws spent some time in the area in the past and there are several
interesting legends about them. The most famous one was Grettir, whose
Saga is like an exiting novel to read. The area is accessible by jeeps
from the western and northern parts of the country and it is possible to
continue from up there to join one of the three main roads, Kjolur,
crossing the country from south to north.
Moorland, or rather desert Storisandur is an undulating, barren area
north of the Langjokull Glacier between the Arnarvatn Moorland and the
Kjalvegur Route. It comprises mainly the glacier-eroded remains of an
ancient shield volcano, which are relatively easily passable and was
frequently travelled by the people of the Skagafiord District (until
about 1890), especially when they were transporting dried fish from the
southwest. The Icelandic Mountain Road Society cleared the track and
marked it with cairns during the years 1831-34. The pinnacle shaped hill
“Grettishaed” in the area probably is the “Grettisthufa” mentioned in
the Gretti’s Saga, where Thorbjorn ongull buried Gretti’s head after his
slaying on the Drangey Island. Another legend has it, that Grettir
fought his enemies there. Along the edges of the area are rich cold
spring areas, which feed the rivers Vatnsdalsa and Vididalsa in the
north and River Nordlingafljot in the south. The most prominent
mountain of the area is Mt Krakur (1167m) just north of Glacier
Langjokull. A 4wd mountain track crosses this area between Lake
Reykjavatn and the Kjalvegur Route and sidetracks continue to the
valleys in the north.
Moorland Holtavorduheidi (407 m.) lies between Valley Nordurardalur (Mts
Trollakirkja/Snjofjoll) and the
Bay. A memorial cairn was built on the northern part of the moorland to
commemorate the visti of the Royal Danish Family in 1936. The road
across was rebuilt during the last three decades of the 20th
Mt PASS BRATTABREKKA
Brattabrekka (392 m.) is a mountain pass between the districts Myrasysla
and Dalasysla. The road starts at the corssing of road # 1 just east of
the Business University at Bifrost and Craters Grabrok. The name of the
present route was derived from the old postal route.
Heydalur is the lowest of the passes of the Snaefellsnes Mountain
Range. It crosses the Moorland Raudamelsheidi past excellent fishing
lakes between County Skogarstrond and Valley Hnappadalur. It has served
as a winter route to and from the Dalir and Westfiord Districts.
Mt Pass Kerlingarskarð (311 m.) was one of the most travelled routes
across the Snaefellsnes Mountain Range before the so-called Vatnaleid
Route was opened in 2001. Both roads start and end at Vegamot in county
Miklaholtshreppur in the south and county Helgafellssveit in the north.
The ogress, after which the pass was named, still stands petrified
carrying a string of fishes on her back on the northernmost shoulder of
Mt Kerlingafjall. The emergency hut in the pass was muched used during
winter and is said to be haunted. The new route lies considerably lower
and passes through a lovely somewhat vegetated area with lakes and lava
Mt PASS FRODARHEIDI
Mt Pass Frodarheidi (361m) lies between the Lava Field Budahraun in the
south and the crossing in the Froda Valley in the north, just east of
the town Olafsvik. This pass is sometimes closed because of snow during
Mt PASS JOKULHALS
The mountain pass Jokulhals touches the eastern edge of the Snaefell’s
Glacier on the Snaefell’s Peninsula. A road across it, which is only
passable during summer, connects the hamlet Arnarstapi and the fishing
village Olafsvik. Hikers also use it for a 4-5 hours’ walk across and
those who want to climb or drive in snowmobiles or on snow scooters to
the top of the glacier, drive up from either village.
In 1937 pumice mining started near the edge of the glacier and an open
pipeline was built all the way down to the small harbour at Arnarstapi.
The pumice was floated down with water and ground down by the harbour
before it was shipped to Reykjavik or directly abroad.
Valley Laxardalur cuts into the moorland from the
Hvammsfiord Bay in the west. It is rather narrow
and the landscape monotonous, but well vegetated and good for grazings.
Accoriding to the Laxdaela Saga, the valley and the moorlands were
wooded in the past, but nowadays one can hardly find a three there.
River Laxa runs through the valley and the road across the moorland lies
along the valley floor. It continues to hamlet Bordeyri in the Strandir
District on the Hrutafjordur Bay. Lake Laxarvatn is located on the
western part of the moorland and other small and large lakes dot the
landscape in all directions. The largest one is Lake Holmavatn on