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The bloody Viking Battles in Skagafjörður in North-Iceland


In my final travel-blog I advised you about Viking actions in Iceland in the present day. Now I need to present you among the areas of the most important Viking battles in Iceland.

In Skagafjörður in North-Iceland you can see your self on the path of the Vikings and plenty of a Viking battle was fought on this stunning a part of Iceland. Keep in mind the Clan of the Sturlungs, which I’ve written about in different travel-blogs? Right here they fought one other clan – the Clan of the Ásbirningar, who lived on this half of Iceland.

Two bloody Viking battles had been fought in Skagafjörður – Örlygsstaðabardagi battle and Haugsnesbardagi – the Battle of Haugsnes.

Örlygsstaðabardagi – the most important Viking Battle in Iceland

Örlygsstaðabardagi – the Battle at Örlygsstaðir passed off on a Saturday on August twenty first, 1238 in Blönduhlíð in Skagafjörður. Right here probably the most highly effective Viking clans in Iceland fought one another in one of many largest viking battles in Iceland – the Clan of Sturlungs in opposition to the Clan of Ásbirningar and the Clan of Haukdælir.

Round 2,800 Vikings fought one another in this ill-fated battle was the second bloodiest battle in Iceland. 1,200 of them had been from the Clan of Sturlungs and 1,600 from the Clans of Haukdælir and the Clan of Ásbirningar.

These had been probably the most highly effective Viking clans in Iceland, endlessly in search of extra energy in Iceland.

The primary chieftain Vikings within the Sturlungar clan had been Sighvatur Sturluson and his son Sturla. The primary chieftain Vikings within the latter clans had been Gissur Þorvaldsson and Kolbeinn ungi Arnórsson.

Round 56 males bought killed on this battle, amongst them was the chieftain Sighvatur Sturluson from Grund in Eyjafjörður, and his 4 sons. The Clan of Sturlungs had been defeated. Atrocities passed off right here when among the Sturlungs sought refuge in Miklabæjarkirkja church.

Sighvatur Sturluson and his sons are believed to buried at Munkaþverá in Eyjafjörður.


On the automotive park you can see an data signal with the above explanations of the Viking battle – it’s in Icelandic solely, however “menn” means males or the clan. “Flóttinn” means the retreat of the lads and “drepinn” means the killing of Sturla and Sighvatur.

A ten-15-minute stroll leads you to a monument of Örlygsstaðabardagi battle. A little bit additional up are stays of buildings that are believed to be from the twelfth century. These stays are a pure historical past website.

It’s good that this memorial has been erected, however I might have appreciated to see one thing extra executed at that location. As I form of was simply wandering round making an attempt to think about what passed off there. A statue of a Viking would do wonders right here – though I do know that such statues are expensive for a municipality to erect.


A metal plaque has been added with good data on the battle, however as destiny has it then some hooligans have made an effort of keying it, because it had been. Such vandalism is above my understanding 🙁

It’s a bit eerie being on this place the place such an enormous Viking battle passed off, and if you’re delicate to vitality you’ll really feel loads of vitality coming from the bottom on the battlefield. 

You’ll be able to examine this battle in Sturlunga – the Saga of the Sturlungs.

You’ll be able to go to the historic place Víðimýri in Skagafjörður, the place the highly effective chieftain of the Ásbirninga Clan, Kolbeinn Arnórsson ungi (1208–1245), lived. There additionally, you will discover a phenomenal turf-church. The Saga of Sturlung tells us of a fortress at Víðimýri which Chieftain Snorri Sturluson made again in 1220.

You can too go to one other historic place, Reynistaðir, the place Baldur Kolbeinsson, who bought killed within the battle, lived.

Afterward the Chieftain Gissur Þorvaldsson lived at Reynistaðir on the time when he held the title the Earl of Iceland, the one man to bear that title. Gissur grew to become probably the most highly effective Chieftains in Iceland after Örlygsstaðabardagi battle, and three years later he had Chieftain Snorri Sturluson himself killed. A horrible homicide.

My 2 photographs of the Vikings I took on the Saga Museum in Reykjavíok, which I extremely suggest visiting.

Instructions: Örlygsstaðir are in Skagafjörður in the midst of Bóla and Miklibær church.

Flóabardagi – the Battle of the Gulf

Portray of Flóabardagi sea-battle in a collection of work by Jóhannes Geir Jónsson (1923-2007). I cropped it from the knowledge signal at Skagi for my travel-blog.

There’s another Viking battle of significance, Iceland’s solely sea-battle, the place each events had been Icelanders. It did not occur in Skagafjörður, however it’s vital within the process of the Viking battles right here in Skagafjörður, because it occurred between Örlygsstaðabardagi and Haugsnesbardagi battles – on the twenty fifth of June 1244.

It is named Flóabardagi – the Battle of the Gulf – because it passed off on Húnaflói bay. Þórður kakali Sighvatsson, on listening to the horrible information that his father and brothers had been killed in  Örlygsstaðabardagi battle, returned again to Iceland from Norway, the place he had been a courtier by the King’s courtroom.

The data signal at Trékyllisvíok

Preparations for this Viking battle had been created from Trékyllisvíok and from Skagi. The Saga of the Sturlungs provides descriptions on how Þórður kakali gathered males from the Strandir space and from the Westfjords of Iceland. Þórður wished to get energy over his patrimony in Eyjafjörður, the place Kolbeinn ungi now dominated. He ready some 15 ships and round 210 males and set sail from Trékyllisvíok.

Kolbeinn ungi Arnórsson and the Clan of Ásbirningar had gathered some 470 males, a lot of them from Northern Iceland. Kolbeinn ready his Viking ship fleet, consisting of 20 ships, from Selvíok at Skagi.

On Húnaflói bay these cousins, Þórður kakali and Kolbeinn ungi, unexpectedly met one another on Húnaflói bay.

The data signal at Selvíok on Skagi

Þórður kakali had crammed his Viking ships with rocks and attacked the Clan of Ásbirningar by throwing rocks at them. Kolbeinn misplaced round 80 of his males, however Þórður misplaced solely few of his males, the precise quantity will not be identified. However the benefit in quantity was nonetheless so nice between these two highly effective clans that Þórður kakali needed to retreat 5 hours into the battle.

Kolbeinn pursued Þórður kakali and the Clan of Ásbirningar to Strandir and looted that space, which had dire penalties for this now distant and scarcely populated a part of Iceland.

Kolbeinn died of an sickness a 12 months later and earlier than his loss of life he handed the japanese a part of North-Iceland over to Þórður kakali. Brandur Kolbeinsson took the reigns over the Clan of Ásbirningar in Skagafjörður. Did I point out that Þórður and Kolbeinn had been cousins, the kids of siblings? So unhappy 🙁

The Battle of Haugsnes

On the nineteenth of April 1246 the Clan of Ásbirningar misplaced within the bloodiest battle ever to be fought in Iceland, to the Clan of the Sturlungs. Right here Þórður kakali Sighvatsson of the Clan of the Sturlungs, fought Gissur Þorvaldsson, of the Clan of Haukdælir, and Brandur Kolbeinsson of the Clan of Ásbirningar.

Þórður kakali Sighvatsson was the son of Sighvatur Sturluson, who was killed in Örlygsstaðabardagi together with his 4 sons, so he had blood feud to revenge. The Clan of Sturlungs arrived with 600 males, however the Clan of Ásbirningar had some 720 males of their military.

Round 110 Vikings misplaced their lives right here, virtually 40 from the Clan of Sturlungs and 60-70 from the Clan of Ásbirningar, amongst them Brandur Kolbeinsson. The Clan of Ásbirningar retreated and plenty of had been killed on the run.

The Saga of the Sturlungs describes the battle as having been the the most important and bloodiest Viking battle in Iceland. Once more right here the Vikings had been preventing for extra energy in Iceland and naturally there was revenge and blood-feud.

Sigurður Hansen at Kringlumýri has reconstructed the Viking battle in reminiscence of all of the lives misplaced within the battle. Sigurður put up an military of stones, all in all 1100, representing the combating armies. An iron cross on prime of a stone represents a member of a fallen Viking.

Right here in such stunning environment it is possible for you to to take a seat down and ponder on the meaningless nature of such battles and the entire younger (and previous) lives, which had been misplaced – a lot of which had been from the identical prolonged household. 

The massive Holy Rood (róðukross), which you’ll attain earlier than you attain the military of stones, is a memorial for the Clan of Ásbirningar. This place is named Róðugrund as after the killing of Brandur a rood was erected.

I like this concept of placing up a memorial and a stone military with so many crosses to permit us travellers to search out the place the place such an enormous Viking battle passed off – and permit us to take a seat down and ponder on the meaningless of such a horrible feud.

Above you will notice the knowledge signal by the automotive park at Haugsnes. Within the center you will notice one of many work in a collection by Jóhannes Geir Jónsson (1923-2007), who was born at Sauðárkrókur city in Skagafjörður.

The automotive park is correct by the farm, so let’s be respectful of the working environment of the farmer. You’ll be able to undergo the gate and stroll to the memorial. I visited this place a few years in the past and hope it hasn’t modified.

From ring-road 1 activate street 76.

The horrific act at Flugumýri in Skagafjörður

There’s pure Viking historical past at Flugumýri in Skagafjörður. In Sturlungaöld century right here at Flugumýri was one of many manors of the Ásbirninga clan and right here Kolbeinn ungi as soon as lived.

Flugumýri is greatest identified to us Icelanders for Flugumýrarbrenna – the Fireplace at Flugumýri in 1253, which is the worst single act of barbarism of the Sturlunga century.

Gissur Þorvaldsson, who was of the Haukdælir clan, and a sworn enemy of the Sturlungar clan moved to Flugumýri in 1253. He wished to make peace with the Sturlungar clan and married off his eldest son, Hallur, to Ingibjörg the daughter of Sturla Þórðarson, who was of the Sturlunga clan. A massive wedding ceremony was held and the company slept over at Flugumýri.

Portray by the artist Jóhannes Geir (1927-2003). I’ve seen this collection in a few areas in Iceland and took photographs of it and cropped it for my travel-blog.

However not the entire Sturlunga clan was proud of this marriage and wished to kill Gissur Þorvaldsson. Eyjólfur ofsi Þorsteinsson recruited a bunch of fifty armed males and arrived late at evening at Flugumýri, when folks had gone to mattress. They could not pressure their entrance into Flugumýri and selected burning it down.

Twenty 5 folks had been burnt alive inside – amongst them the spouse of Gissur and his 3 sons. The bride Ingibjörg bought spared by her kin, and Gissur saved himself by hiding in a barrel with bitter acid. This occurred on the  twenty second of October 1253.

Hallur Gissurarson jumped out of the burning farm, his enemies hit him within the head and virtually lower his leg off. He survived and the monk Þórólfur dragged him on a lamb pores and skin to church, the place he died the subsequent morning. His father Gissur, was helped to the church after he bought out from the barrel of bitter acid. Gissur had misplaced his entire household within the hearth.

What a horrible act 🙁

The church again then is believed to have been greater than the present church at Flugumýri. Afterward the Hólar bishopric purchased Flugumýri and their synods had been held right here.

In case you go to the church you will notice that there’s a path resulting in a hill. On prime of that hill there may be Virkishóll, remnants of an previous fort from the Sturlunga age. I’ve been that means to hike as much as it for ages.

Flugumýri has all the time been thought of the most effective lands within the fertile Skagafjörður. Right here Þórir dúfunef settled and Fluga (fly) was the identify of his speedy mare. Flugumýrarkirkja church is first talked about in in Sturlunga Saga in 1253.

There’s now a horse-farm at Flugumýri. There’s not a lot to see other than visiting the church which was erected in 1930. That’s the reason the one photographs I add listed below are of the present church.

Flugumýri is simply off ring-road 1 on street 76 as you attain the bridge resulting in Varmahlíð coming from Akureyri.

Within the historic Skagafjörður you can see the attractive turf homes Glaumbær and Tyrfingsstaðir and a turf church, which has been referred to as probably the most stunning of all our turf church buildings, Víðimýri turf-church.

To achieve this space it’s best to hire a automotive in Reykjavíok and drive as much as Skagafjörður in 3.5 hours.

Additionally try the various self-drive excursions:

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