Unadalsj÷kull

Distance: 24-25 kilometres. Route: Atlasta­ir in Svarfa­ardalur ľ Skallßrdalur ľ Unadalsj÷kull ľ Unadalur ľ Hˇlkot in Unadalur.
Maximum elevation: 920 metres. Hiking time: 10-12 hours.

When people talk about taking the Unadalsj÷kull glacier route they mean the route between Svarfa­ardalur valley and Unadalur along the Unadalsj÷kull glacier. This route was quite well-travelled, especially as regards the store at Hofsˇs, as it was a much shorter route for the inhabitants in the inner part of Svarfa­ardalur valley to go there than to Akureyri. The hike starts at Atlasta­ir farm and you enter the Skallßrdalur valley from the north. To begin with, the trail goes along a grassy hillside and then along a number of large clusters of hills. Presently mount Skj÷ldur is to the right and further on is the Sandskßlarhnj˙kur peak and north of it is the trail to Sandskar­ pass. There are several quite steep slopes at the bottom of the valley and you start ascending where two branches of the Skallßr river meet and you turn to the north. At the bottom of the valley you need to hike up a steep slope before you reach a barren level gravel plain, which forms a regular curved bottom in the Skallßrdalur valley. When you get up on the slope the Hvarfdalsskar­ pass can be seen and there is a trail from there to the Fljˇt area. We continue our hike and set the course to Unadalsj÷kull glacier, which we need to traverse. Nowhere is the steepness particularly great but we need to show great caution in the late summer when the glacier becomes more slippery and fissures appear. In these parts the glacier has reduced greatly in size and retreated tens if not hundreds of metres in recent decades. On the eastern part of the Unadalsj÷kull glacier we follow the trail along the Hßkambar crest and from there the trail inclines towards the west, down the glacier and to the innermost foothills of Unadalur valley. To the right there is another trail that leads down to the Fljˇt area along J÷kulfjall mountain and down the Mˇafellsdalur valley. The hike leads us north along the Lambß stream, a little streamlet that falls from the glacier and joins the Su­rßrdalsß river further below. You need to keep to the northern side of the valley and now there is a long hike ahead of us down the valley over endless marshlands and a few clusters of hillocks. The innermost traces of human habitation in Unadalur valley are supposedly on a mound which is called Einb˙i, below the Fremstuhˇlar hills. Further down the valley there are more traces, as well as the ancient farm Mi­hˇlar on hills of the same name. There were several farms inhabited in latter times in the inner part of the valley, and the innermost of these was Spßnß. Past the ruins of these farms the trail goes down the valley.





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