Honor students program of the University of Southern Main

Occasionally, I take tours, as a guide, with groups traveling with Geocamp Iceland, an Icelandic company that helps organize tours for schools, educational institutions and teachers around the world that are interested in Iceland. Most of the time the tours are organized with an emphasis on a theme, like geology, history, or even an industry like the fishing industry in Iceland.

Luckily when we reached the top of the island, the weather was fantastic and the view was spectacular.


There are many natural pools in Iceland.  Most of the pools that have attraction are natural hot springs that blend with a small creek or a cold stream out in nature and mix into a bearable temperature. One of the most popular and best known is the pool in Landmannalaugar in the Highland.  Usually, those natural pools are made by nature without little or any help from man.  Most of them have been there as long as anyone can remember. 

Grettir, the strongest man who ever lived in Iceland

At Reykjaströnd at the farm Reykir, 40 kilometers from the Ring Road at Varmahlíð, you will find two small pools or jacuzzi's named Grettislaug and Jarlslaug (the Earl´s pool).  Grettislaug referring to Grettir the strongest man in the Icelandic Sagas and Jarlslaug referring to Jón Eiríksson, who is still alive and a kind of a legend.  He earned his nickname Jarl or Earl because of his countless tours and knowledge of the rock island Drangey.  Jón was given the name by his friends and the public; the Earl of Drangey.
As the owner of the farm Reykir, Jón built both pools using natural springs using water with exactly the right temperature coming from the ground. Hot Springs that have been there for hundreds of years. According to the Saga about Grettir, there was a pool or a hot spring in this place around eleven hundred years ago.  The time Grettir swam his famous swim from Drangey. 

Grettir after the swim

Reykir and the two man-made pools are a great place to stop and rest enjoying the beautiful landscape in Skagafjörður.  You also have a great view to Drangey, and it is ideal to read the Saga Grettissaga before you dip into the pool Grettislaug.  You can only imagine how relaxing it must have been for Grettir coming from the cold sea from the rock Drangey and resting for hours in the hot spring.  Unfortunately, for the infamous outlaw, renowned for his strength and dominating presence a secret was reviled. The day after when he lay naked inside the house at Reykir, two women came into the room and saw him naked on the bed. To their dismay, he was as massive as expected but discussed between them, and were quite embarrassed by how "small he was built downwards." Possibly the root of his endless problems.

Read this important article written by a local expert before you choose a car.

Below is the location of Grettislaug geothermal pool on the map of Iceland

Grettislaug geothermal pool has been at Reykir from time of Settlement


When driving in Skagafjörður fjord in the North Region in Iceland can't help but be impressed by a huge rock or an island towering majestically in the middle of the fjord. The rock is visible from the Ring Road as you approach Vamahlíð coming from the mountain pass Vatnsskarð between Húnavatnssýsla and Skagafjörður.  Geologically the island, Drangey, is a remnant of a seven hundred years old volcano and mostly made of volcanic tuff. Of course, to the Icelanders this geological explanation of the island's origins was a somewhat dull, so, they came up with another explanation: Two night-prowling trolls were crossing the fjord with their cow in tow. They were rather slow in their movement and were caught in the early morning sunlight. It is, of course, common knowledge that the Sun turns trolls into stones. Man, woman and cow turned into stones on the spot. The cow turned into Drangey island; the woman became Kerling (Od Hag) which is the stack south of Drangey, and a stack north of the island Drangey became Karl (Man). Unfortunately some centuries ago the man collapsed and disappeared into the ocean as a large earthquake shook Skagafjörður some centuries ago.

A place where the outlaw and famous Icelandic bad boy Grettir Ásmundarson found sanctuary

Drangey is first mentioned in the Icelandic Saga Grettis Saga. The island is the place where Grettir found refuge after being outlawed.  Grettir is considered to be the strongest man ever to bear the title Icelander.  Also, he was as mean tempered, grumpy and ill-spirited as they come. He was also a miserable and unlucky person, so when he experienced a lack of trouble, he could rest assure that misfortune would find him.  From early childhood, he was in trouble and continued to search for and create problems for himself and others throughout his whole life.   After being outlawed he survived in Dragey for three years until he was slain in a dramatic sequence of events.

A steep path to the top

Drangey is a mass of tuff, flat on the top, rising almost 200 meters out of the ocean. The cliffs serve as nesting sites for around million seabirds, among them a Puffin colony. Throughout the centuries the locals have visited the cliffs for egg collection and bird netting. There is only one trail leading to the top. It is quite steep and not for the faint of heart or those who have some fear of height or have acrophobia.  For those who are interested, there are tours to Drangey during the summer from the farm Reykir 30 Kilometers north of the town Sauðárkrókur.  Before you leave for the tour or after the tour, you can relax at Reykir in the geothermal pool Grettislaug

Read this important article written by a local expert before you choose a car.

Below is the location of Drangey on the map of Iceland