Botnalei­

Distance: 20-21 kilometres. Route: Gar­ur in Ëlafsfj÷r­ur ľ Skeggjabrekkudalur ľ M÷­ruvallahßls - south of ┴mßrhyrna ľ Hˇlsskar­ - Siglufj÷r­ur.
Maximum elevation: 630 metres. Hiking time: 8-10 hours.

Skeggjabrekkudalur valley is a fairly long valley. The valley is a lush, grassy area, and is popular for outdoor activities both in the winter and in the summer. There is a rich berry crop in the valley and from time to time a single small birch may creep along the soil because of heavy snow. As a matter of fact the valley has two names: south of the river it is called Gar­sdalur valley and north of the river its name is Skeggjabrekkudalur valley. The abandoned farm Skeggjabrekka is located in the mouth of the valley. This is now where the town's nine-hole golf course is located. In 1942, the power of the Gar­sß river was harnessed and it remained for a long period the only power station in the fjord, until a power transmission line was set up by the Skei­sfossvirkjun power station in the Fljˇt area. In 1944, drilling for geothermal water began and as a result the Ëlafsfj÷r­ur hot-water supply is one of the oldest heating providers in the country. The trails that lead through the valley are the Botnalei­ trail to Siglufj÷r­ur, one trail to HÚ­insfj÷r­ur and a trail through the Sandskar­ pass in the Fljˇt area. The hike through the valley is easy ľ you walk along sheep paths or along a track that was created when an optical-fibre cable was laid from Siglufj÷r­ur. You can follow the track to Siglufj÷r­ur. In the middle of the valley, there is a landslide which has caused a blockage in the valley but the river has forged it way through and this landslide is now named Hˇlar landslide. In front of Hˇlar, the area is very grassy and provides a good shelter. The mountains surrounding the valley rise up to more than 900 m to the south and Skeggjabrekkuhyrna mountain rises up to 907 m in the north. It is easy to bring horses along the Botnalei­ trail both to Siglufj÷r­ur and HÚ­insfj÷r­ur. You hike up through a pass in the mountain range, and the pass is called Hßls hill (M÷­ruvallarhßls). When you stand up on Hßls hill, you have a clear view over to Ëlafsfj÷r­ur and the trail to Siglufj÷r­ur is unmistakable. To the left, there is a short distance to the Sandskar­ pass and onward to the Fljˇt area and to the right you walk down to HÚ­insfj÷r­ur fjord. When you continue on to Siglufj÷r­ur, the ┴mßrhyrna mountain is a good landmark. You then hike on down the mountain, soon the Hˇlsskar­ pass lays before you. From the pass, there is an unhindered trail down to Siglufj÷r­ur, to begin with downwards along a steep scree, then follows a wave-shaped gravel plain and then finally you walk along a grassy trail along the Fjar­arß river.





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