One of the main reasons Icelanders started to travel into the highland, the backland or the interior of the island, was because of the annual gathering of sheep. For centuries sheep farmers in Iceland have sent their stock into the wilderness, the highland, to wander during summer, graze in the mountains and rest the farmland for harvesting late summer. Then in autumn, flocks of selected individuals from each area and farms travel to the Highland to find and gather the sheep. Early on those trips to the Highland were a test of manhood and sought after by young men. The trips were often quite difficult as the weather in Iceland has always been quite unpredictable. Also and up until the last century places to accommodate or finding shelter overnight were few and harsh. Most of the places were caves or even holes in the ground. But as things developed Icelanders started to build huts in the Highland for the people that stayed in the there for days gathering sheep and often walking distances to search for their sheep in the backland.
Hvanngil was originally a place for farmers gathering sheep
Hvanngil is a small valley in the highland and is a well-known place as it is part of the popular hiking trail Laugavegur. It was originally one of the places where farmers built their hut to stay in the Highland when gathering sheep in autumn. At that time the shed was built to accommodate a group of searchers upstairs and sheep downstairs. For those curious about such houses, the yellow hut is still in Hvanngil. Later, around the seventies in the last century travel clubs started to build huts and houses only aimed at housing people traveling in the Highland for fun and enjoyment. At Hvanngil one was built in the eighties and is one of the best huts in the Highland. For those hiking Laugavegur Hvanngil is an attractive place to stay as well as those who want to take time to drive the difficult Highland road Syðri Fjallabak. There are also exciting hiking trails around the hut.
How to get to Hvanngil
Hvanngil is only accessible on a well-equipped 4X4 vehicle. It is a place that is also only possible to visit from the middle of July until late September. Even in September, you can expect snow. So this is a place for serious hikers and travelers in Iceland that understand how to travel in the highland and know how to cross rivers. It is part of the mountain road F210 which is one of the most challenging highland roads in Iceland.