Porno slope is probably the most hilarious landscape name in Iceland

  • The river Kaldaklofskvísl (Cold crotch distributary) and Klámbrekka is between the hill in the background and the mountain Stóra Grænafjall.
Nov 18 2016

Throughout the centuries Icelanders have been very efficient and almost pedantic in giving names to every small piece of item in the landscape throughout the whole country.  Wherever you go, everything from a high and mighty mountain to a low hill seems to have a name.  Every creek and every river have a name.  Every waterfall in our extensive variety of small and large falls has a name.  And believe me, we have hundreds of waterfalls.  Every cliff, lava field, every lake, every cave, every hot spring and basically every place in the country has a name. 
Just recently an older gentleman in one small fjord, Súgandarfjörður in the West Fjords, collected all the names in that fjord. His aim was to preserve all the two thousand names in nature and the landscape, in that fjord and thus preserve an important part of our culture.  So only in this small fjord, he managed to collect around two thousand names.   
Most of the names in the Icelandic landscape have some kind of logical reference. In the past, this was necessary and immensely important since no one had a map let alone a GPS for navigation.  So when discussing how to go to a particular place from A to B, or knowing your location when traveling between places, you used names. The dedication is almost unbelievable and can easily be labeled as a compulsion.

A few names stand out

Most names have some kind of logical reference to the environment. A mountain near a geothermal pool is called Laugafell or Pool Mountain. Sometimes the names refer to divine names or names referring to stories.  This has all accumulated throughout the eleven centuries that Icelanders have lived in this country.
In all our travels around Iceland and throughout the inland or Highland, we have come across thousands of names and places.  And we must admit that some are more noticeable than others.  Some of the names are strange and some just plain mysterious.  One of the most bizarre names we have come across is a name on a slope of a small mountain deep in the highland, Klámbrekka or Porno Slope.  How this name came about three or more centuries ago is a puzzle.

We have a theory regarding the name

The slope Klámbrekka is in the middle of the Highland Road Syrðri Fjallabak F210 and near the intersection of F210 and the Highland road Emstruleið F261.  It is also in the midst of the famous hiking trail Laugavegur between Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk. No wonder because this is one of the oldest tracks for communication between the west part of the southern region and the east part of the south region in Iceland.  The track Syðri Fjallabak was mentioned in Njála, one of the most famous Icelandic Sagas, although not by that name. 
Our theory regarding the name is that a flock of travelers road on their horses the track from the east in the distant past on their way to the west part of the Southern Region. As they came to the river Kaldaklofskvísl  (Cold crotch distributary), the volume of water was unusually high.  They all became wet and cold in their crotch and up to their waist.  From the river they road the short distance to the slope.  This was in late July and the day was exceptionally sunny and warm.  As they came to the slope, they laughed and gave the river this name, Kaldaklofskvísl (Cold crotch distributary). To warm their body and dry their clothes they undressed and put their cloth on the slope to dry.  Tired after a long ride, they also lay down and rested.  At the same time, a prominent priest loaded with high moral values was traveling to the east, the opposite way, on the same track. When he witnessed all the naked people lying on the slope, he was outraged with shock and shame over this scandal. In his dismay and anger, he shouted the word porn repeatedly to the naked people and continued his journey east in a hurry with his flock.  On his way over Mælifellssandur north of the famous glaciers Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull he continued to mumble that the incident by the slope was nothing less than porn. As the story got grounds both on the west side and the east side of the southern region the name stuck, Klámbrekka or Porno Slope.