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  • Einar Páll Svavarsson

Skælingar unusual lava formation


Skælingar is a wonderful place to visit
Skælingar is a wonderful place to visit

At some point in our lives, we all long for peace of mind. In such times, what could be a better companion than a peaceful place? There are places in the Icelandic Highland that are still and calm and where few people visit—where the only sound is a symphony created by small streams and songs from birds, which put you in a relaxed mode. One such place is the beautiful world of unusual lava formation at Skælingar—a place where everything seems untroubled, yet strange and exotic. It is a place that compels you to conclude that elves or creatures of another dimension actually exist and that you should not disturb them.


Map of Highland in Iceland home of Skælingar
Map of Highland in Iceland home of Skælingar

Skælingar was at one point a farm:

Skælingar lava field
Skælingar lava field

Although Skælingar is now part of the uninhabitable Icelandic Highland, it was a farm "up in the Morse" in the centuries following the settlement, before the devastating eruption of Skaftáreldar changed the area dramatically in 1783 and 1784. Skælingar is a part of the fascinating Eldgjá area. In Skælingar, there is an old cabin that once belonged to the farmers in this part of Iceland; it is one of many such cabins in Iceland that were used in the autumn in the sheep round-up, when farmers collected sheep from the Highland. It now belongs to the outdoor life association Útivist and is part of one of their hiking trails.


The interesting lava formation:

Enjoying the Skælingar natural wonder
Enjoying the Skælingar natural wonder

The lava that floods the surface during an eruption can take on many forms. Also, the lava changes over the years, decades, and centuries. In Iceland, lava from various eruptions around the country throughout its geological history is visible almost everywhere. Most of the lava today is covered with moss. This amalgamation of lava and moss is beautiful, as we can so easily see in Skælingar. Especially photographers might find it interesting that the moss displays varying colors after a dry week and a rainy week. The most exciting time to photograph moss in Iceland is on a sunny day after a few days of rain.


How to get to Skælingar:

Skælingar
Skælingar

If you plan to visit Skælingar, you should plan to drive Nyrðri Fjallabak backland road. The best way to access the road to Skælingar is from Ring Road, some 23 kilometers west of the village Kirkjubæjarklaustur. Here, you take a turn north on Road Nr. 208 and drive approximately 20 kilometers until you take a right turn to cross the river Stangarkvísl. You then need to drive about eight kilometers on this road to reach Skælingar.



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