Rauðfeldsgjá is deep, high and narrow ravine in the cliffs under the glacier Snæfellsjökull with a dramatic story attached to its name. The location is near the tiny village of Arnarstapi. Seen from the road, it looks like a small crack in the berg that slid just a bit, enough for people to enter and observe. There is a parking lot by the road and a five to ten minutes walk to the entrance of the ravine.
A narrow path for those who dare
Although entering the ravine Rauðfeldsgjá is a bit of a clamber it is worth it when you come into the main entrance. It is almost like a small and wonderful temple. For those who dare, a further clamber into the narrow crack following the water is possible. It will lead you to a rope where you can pull yourself up a small waterfall, and even go further into the ravine. A very narrow path with cliffs all around you and a view high up to the open air. Those who take this route will possibly sense the spirits of the brothers Rauðfeldur and Sölvi, who met their fate in this place about twelve hundred years ago as is documented in a true story the Icelandic Sagas.
A dramatic event that had tremendous consequences
Rauðfeldur and Sölvi came with their father Þorkell, the half brother of Bárður Snæfellsás, to Iceland as children and lived at Arnarstapi. They often played with Bárðurs many beautiful daughters. One day they lured one of the girls out to an iceberg in an innocent game. Unfortunately, high winds blew the iceberg quickly from shore and out to the open sea. The news of her journey on the ice never reached her father as communication were different at that time. Apparently she reached Greenland 330 days later and lived a good live with the family of Erik the Red for many years. In a poem, she wrote and had been preserved in the Sagas; one can sense that she missed her father, family, and country.
A life changing event for Bárður Snæfellsás, the half troll half man
When Bárður Snæfellsás learned of the disappearance of his daughter he completely blew up in anger, to put it mildly. He grabbed the two brothers and climbed to the cliff above the ravine. In his uncontrollable anger, he threw Rauðfeldur into the ravine and to enhance the madness he threw the other brother Sölvi of the cliff. Needless to say, both boys lost their lives, but their names have lived as the ravine, and the cliff bears their names; Rauðfeldsgjá and Sölvahamar. After this incident, Bárður lost his mind and eventually walked up to the glacier where he built an ice cave where he has lived for many centuries and according to popular believe, still does to this very day.