Berserkjagata – The Road of the Berserks

Berserkjagata – The Road of the Berserks

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Berserkjagata The Road of the Berserks

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Berserkjagata The Road of the Berserks 64.988573, -22.930363 The name Berserkjahraun is connected to the story of the Berserks, in the tenth century AD. Vermundur mjóvi was a viking who served the king of Norway. He was awarded two berserks, Halli and Leiknir. They were exceptional fighting men, who came with him to Iceland. In Iceland the berserks worked for Víga-Styr, brother of Vermundur at Bjarnarhöfn. Soon Halli wished to marry Ásdís, the daughter of Styr. He sought the advice of chieftain Snorri goði about avoiding this marriage.  Styr agreed to the marriage if the berserks could first complete three tasks. One was to build a road across the Berserkjahraun lava flow. The other was to build a wall that could be crossed in only one direction. The third was to build a shelter in the lava. The berserks started on these impossible tasks but completed them quickly. Then Styr invited them to an underground sauna bath to rest after the difficult tasks. When they were inside, he had his men place large stones on top of the entrance to the sauna bath and the berserks were thus killed. Their remains were then buried in the lava where a large rectangular burial site can be seen today along the site of their road.  Berserkjagata is the oldest road construction known in Iceland and it is over a thousand years old.To reach the Berserkjagata (“road of the berserks”), turn off route 54 onto route 577 by the sign of the large iron shark sculpture at the road junction.  Follow route 577 to the coast. Leave the vehicle at the point marked Park on the map.  Follow the trail to the northwest into the lava.  The Berserkjagata road is an easy hike through the lava. Notice the large and rectangular stone structure close to the trail on the right hand side, about midway on the hike.  This is where the berserks were buried (marked Dys on map).  Further along you reach the wall built by the berserks, over which sheep and other animals can only pass in one direction (marked Garður on map).  A bit further along you have a view to the right ovar a small bay.  This is the inlet named Blámannavík or Bluemen´s Bay.  Blámaður in old norse languave was a black person.  We do not know the origin of the name here, but it may be connected with escaping black slaves from the farm of Bjarnarhöfn.  You emerge from the lava by a small stream.  Now you have two options.  You can either turn around and hike the Berserkjagata back again to the vehicle.  This is the better choice. Alternatively, cross the stream and turn to the left to reach the main road. In front of you is the farm of Bjarnarhöfn.  Return to the vehicle along this road to the left to reach route 557 again. (Directions)

The name Berserkjahraun is connected to the story of the Berserks, in the tenth century AD. Vermundur mjóvi was a viking who served the king of Norway. He was awarded two berserks, Halli and Leiknir. They were exceptional fighting men, who came with him to Iceland. In Iceland the berserks worked for Víga-Styr, brother of Vermundur at Bjarnarhöfn. Soon Halli wished to marry Ásdís, the daughter of Styr. He sought the advice of chieftain Snorri goði about avoiding this marriage.  Styr agreed to the marriage if the berserks could first complete three tasks. One was to build a road across the Berserkjahraun lava flow. The other was to build a wall that could be crossed in only one direction. The third was to build a shelter in the lava. The berserks started on these impossible tasks but completed them quickly. Then Styr invited them to an underground sauna bath to rest after the difficult tasks. When they were inside, he had his men place large stones on top of the entrance to the sauna bath and the berserks were thus killed. Their remains were then buried in the lava where a large rectangular burial site can be seen today along the site of their road.  Berserkjagata is the oldest road construction known in Iceland and it is over a thousand years old.

To reach the Berserkjagata (“road of the berserks”), turn off route 54 onto route 577 by the sign of the large iron shark sculpture at the road junction.  Follow route 577 to the coast. Leave the vehicle at the point marked Park on the map.  Follow the trail to the northwest into the lava.  The Berserkjagata road is an easy hike through the lava. Notice the large and rectangular stone structure close to the trail on the right hand side, about midway on the hike.  This is where the berserks were buried (marked Dys on map).  Further along you reach the wall built by the berserks, over which sheep and other animals can only pass in one direction (marked Garður on map).  A bit further along you have a view to the right ovar a small bay.  This is the inlet named Blámannavík or Bluemen´s Bay.  Blámaður in old norse languave was a black person.  We do not know the origin of the name here, but it may be connected with escaping black slaves from the farm of Bjarnarhöfn.  You emerge from the lava by a small stream.  Now you have two options.  You can either turn around and hike the Berserkjagata back again to the vehicle.  This is the better choice. Alternatively, cross the stream and turn to the left to reach the main road. In front of you is the farm of Bjarnarhöfn.  Return to the vehicle along this road to the left to reach route 557 again.

Information

The Berserkjahraun lava has flowed from a 5 km long fissure with a WNW – ESE trend. It is part of the Ljósufjöll volcanic system.

Distance: 3.5 km

Elevation: 0 m

Duration: About 1 Hrs 30 Min.

Starting point: Road 577

GPS track (qpx file)