Lómagnúpur and Núpsstaður
Lómagnúpur (767 m), one of the most instantly recognisable of all Icelandic mountains, was once thought to be the home of a giant named Járngrímur. Njál’s Saga describes how Flosi Þorgeirsson dreamt that Járngrímur came to him from Lómagnúpur and foretold the fates of the band of men who had burnt Njál and his family alive inside their farm. Járngrímur is also commemorated as one of the guardian spirits that warded off foreign kings who wanted to conquer Iceland in the early days of the settlement. The giant of Lómagnúpur has earned himself a place on Iceland’s coat of arms, where he stands with the guardian spirits of the other three quarters of the country, holding his iron staff in his hand. The farm at the foot of Mt. Lómagnúpur is called Núpsstaður.


Generations of farmers there became renowned for skillfully guiding and ferrying travellers over the nearby rivers and glaciers. A recent one, Hannes Jónsson, who also had the daunting job of the local postman, was buried behind the chapel at Núpsstaður when he died in 1968. Along with Hofskirkja, which is also in the southeast, Núpsstaður is one of the few remaining turf-built churches in Iceland. It was restored in 1958-71 but its main structure dates from the 17th century and the furnishings include an altarpiece more than 200  years old. Besides the chapel, there are several turfed farm buildings at Núpsstaður from the 18th and 19th centuries, some of them still in use. Núpsstaðarskógar, the woods on the west side of Skeiðarárjökull, belong to the Núpsstaður farm. In the 19th century, a herd of wild and very aggressive sheep lived in the woods and the farmers hunted them for food. Today, the plant life in Núpsstaðarskógar is flourishing and it is now one of the most beautiful woodlands in Iceland.

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