Lambafellsklofi is a spectacular place to visit: a cleft straight through Lambafell, a small mountain/large hill/rock (we have no definition of when something stops being a hill and becomes a mountain, and such a feature is often called a “fell” or a “stapi”, although the former can also be found in the names of genuine mountains).
The cleft passes straight through Lambafell and is just wide enough to make it possible to pass through to the other side. It is so narrow that I could, where it is narrowest, touch both walls without fully extending my arms, and only at the lower (western) end is it too wide for a tall man to touch both walls at the same time. It only takes about 20-30 minutes to get there by car from Reykjavík and the hike, a circular route, only takes about 40 minutes, less if you are a fast walker. You do have to be able to handle a steep slope, as the slope of the ascent (or descent, if you approach it from the east) is, in my estimation, about 45°degrees, albeit not very long. The knobbly walls of the cleft provide good hand-holds for the climb.
Quarries can be highly unsafe places and are therefore rarely open to the public, but once in a while you come across one you can go into to explore. I found one such place on a Sunday drive in the country recently.
I love visiting quarries because they give me a chance to indulge in a favourite childhood hobby of mine: rockhounding. Unlike back in the day, when I would have filled my bedroom with rocks and crystals if my parents hadn’t stopped me, I now prefer to photograph them in situ and leave them be, unless they are really spectacular or unusual. I found one such sample on this visit that was shaped like a slice of cake with a crystal layer between two rock layers and a topping of crystals, but I’ll probably have to use a studio setup to get a decent shot of it because it didn’t photograph well where I found it (besides which, it will need to be cleaned before it can be properly photographed). I also found a nice example of pyrite (fool’s gold), tiny crystals of it covering a small flat piece of rock.
The quarry had the inevitable pool at the bottom. It looked inviting from a distance:
However, close up, it…didn’t:
There were some nice veins and formations of coloured rock and crystal embedded in the walls of the quarry:
…and also in some of the loose rocks:
Click to enlarge any photo.
Glerhallavík (Chalcedony Cove) is a small cove on the western coast of Skagafjörður in northern Iceland that gets its name from the pebbles and occasional larger pieces (I’ve seen one as large as a duck egg) of milky and green-flecked chalcedony that litter the beach. It is a protected nature area and picking chalcedony is forbidden, but some websites claim you can get permission to do so from the land-owner.
It can be reached in three ways: by hiking along the very rocky shore from Grettislaug, by hiking along the grassy mountainside above the shore and then taking a perilous climb down into the cove, or by taking the sea route. The first takes about 40 minutes.
You hike along the rocky beach with the island of Drangey on your right and on the left a near vertical bank of mixed rock and earth looming above you and occasional showers of small pebbles raining down from overhead. It can be quite scary, especially as the path which occasionally appears is right at the foot of the steep bank. However, the path makes for easier going than clambering over the rocks and boulders the whole way. At the end of the walk you come to a sharp turn and once you have made that, you can see this little gem of a cove with striking splashes of green, yellow and brown where trickling water feeds a growth of algae on the rock.
If you enjoy beautiful nature the hike will be worth the effort even if you can’t collect chalcedony.