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Region: East Iceland
Coordinates: 65.2668743° N 14.3948469° W


This vast highland plateau lies 500-600 m above sea level and it is about 60 km long. The landscape is rather flat, alternating barren gravel hills, lakes, and vegetated marshlands. Around the middle of the 19th century poor people, who wanted to lead independent lives inhabited the plateau. Properties in the lowlands were too expensive. The ash from the 1875 eruption of the central volcano Askja and the difficult living conditions forced most of the families to abandon their livelihood. There was no employment to be had elsewhere in the country and most of the people had to emigrate to North America. Three of the most prominent authors of the country, Halldor Laxness, Jon Trausti and Gunnar Gunnarsson, based some of their works on the experiences of those people. The last farm was abandoned just before the middle of the 20th century and one of them has been rebuilt as a museum.
East Iceland saga Trail

Hareksstadir was a farm on the Jokuldalsheidi moorland. It was the first and best housed farm to be built in this area in the 19th century, in 1841. It was abandoned in 1925 and some vague sources mention a farm there during the earlier centuries. Road # 1 was moved further north in 1998-2000, through this area, but the old and more scenic gravel road is still open and passable.

The road across this moorland area (540m) lies between the farm Sandfellshagi in the Oxarfiord County and the fishing village Thorshofn in the Svalbard County. The crossing of the road around the Melrakka Peninsula is near the church site Svalbard.

This road connects with road # 1 and continues to the small town Vopnafiord. On the moorland are quite a few ruins of abandoned farms. The inhabitants of the town have long expressed their wish for a tunnel through the mountains separating them from the Fljotsdalur District to shorten the way to town Egilsstadir by several dozens of kilometres.

Hellisheidi is among the highest lying (656 m), and steepest mountain roads of the country. As a rule, it is only passable during summer, but every now and then, it is cleared of snow during winter nowadays. It offers the shortest way between the fishing town Vopnafiord and the town Egilsstadir, the main centre for communications in the East. On a fine day, the view from up there is incomparable. The highest lying slope on the southern side is called The Snow Patch. When the snow there disappears completely during summer, it forebodes a very hard, coming winter.

The summer road between the Fljotdal’s District and Cove Njardvik/Borgarfiord Bay lies through this mountain pass (431m). The road is steep and winding on both sides and at its highest point is a lake. The areal view from the pass is excellent on a fine day.

The summer road across Moorland Fjardarheidi (620 m.) is 22 km. long between District Herad and the village Seydisfiord. Sometimes during winter a snowmobile is used to facilitate communications to the village. The panoramic view from the moorland is excellent on a fine day.

Moorland Fljotdalsheidi stretches between the valleys Jokuldalur and Fljotdalur. It is vast, vegetated area with a 4wd track between the farms Bessastadir and Klaustursel. The National Power Authority has built roads in connection with research and construction of dams and a hydroelectric power plant in the eastern interior.

This vast feeding and breeding area of the reindeer is within the frame of the Snowy Mountain, Snaefell, the northern edge of the icecap Vatnajokull and the glacial river Jokulsa a Bru. It is mostly vegetated and boggy in a few places. It is situated between 600 and 700 m above sea level. One of the huts of the Tourist Association is situated at the western foot of the Snowy Mountain. Two main access roads lead into this area, one from the Hrafnkelsdalur valley and another, and a better one from the Fljotsdalur valley. The latter was built in connection with research carried out in connection with the planned construction of a hydro electric power station and the creation of a man made lake, which would flood one of the largest breeding areas of the pink footed goose in the world.

This area is boardered by Glacier Bruarjokull in the south, River Kreppa in the west, the farm Modrudalur property in the north, and River Jokulsa a Bru in the east. The elevation increaste from north to south (500-700 m.). The landscape is relatively flat, somtimes undulating, and dotted with low mountains and lakes. The western part is barren, but furthest east, along the glacial river it is relatively well vegetated. The northern part of Bruaroraefi suffered devastation during the 1875 Askja Eruption. Many mountain tracks wind through this area from the farm Bru, the Moorland Jokuldalsheidi and farm Modrudalur through ancient inhabited, but abandoned areas and the grazings of reindears.

Moorland Breiddalsheidi (441m) is a summer mountain road between Valley Skriddalur and Valley Breiddalur. At its highest point is a small lake and sometimes the passers by spot reindeers.

Moorland Oxe (532m) is a 12 miles (20 km.) long summer road between Moorland Breiddalsheidi (Valley Skriddalur) and the Berufiord Bay. The access road from the south is steep and curvy and sometimes visibility is reduced to zero by fog.

Mt Pass Almannaskard (152m) is sandwitched between steep mountains and the road from the west is very steep and dangerous during icy winter conditions. The road through it connects Hornafjordur and Lon. A short tunnel is going to replace the road over the pass in 2005.

Nearby MOORLANDS of the EAST

Nearby MOORLANDS of the EAST

Links in MOORLANDS of the EAST