Trollaskagi has four ski resorts (including Hlidarfjall by Akureyri) and many opportunities for backcountry and heli-skiing. In summer, locals go hiking instead; there are trails to suit any level. It’s also possible to go diving, whale watching, sea angling, horseback riding, museum hopping, island hopping and swimming – not to mention bathing in beer. At a special café in Dalvik, the local legend of the unfortunate Bakkabraedur (Backwards Brothers) is upheld with illustrations on walls and old artefacts on display.
The road to the next town, Olafsfjordur, leads through yet another tunnel. At the entrance is a viewing platform where one can marvel at the surroundings: Hrisey island, “The Pearl of Eyjafjordur”, to the south, and to the north (weather permitting), the shape of Grimsey island. The tunnel is the gateway to Fjallabyggd, a municipality uniting Olafsfjordur and Siglufjordur. Before the new tunnel opened in 2010, commuters between the neighbouring towns had to drive across hazardous mountain pass Lagheidi – or if closed, all the way around Trollaskagi! The twopart tunnel now also gives access to Hedinsfjordur, a wondrous mountain valley popular for treks.
This time, I opt for Lagheidi, which takes me to rural region Fljot in Skagafjordur, past peaceful farms and sparkling lakes. I head back to Hjaltadalur, the site of the horse roundup. Today, the Laufskalarett pen is empty and I continue past the silent structure to Holar. A site of an ancient bishopric and school, Holar University now teaches equestrian science, among other subjects. Outside the cathedral, an archaeological excavation is ongoing. The sun sets and the mountains of Trollaskagi cast long shadows. At daybreak, secrets wait to be unearthed.