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For the Children

Arctic Henge

Set in Raufarhöfn, one of the most remote and northernmost villages in Iceland where the Arctic Circle lies just off the coast, the Arctic Henge (Heimskautsgerðið) is under construction. Similar to its ancient predecessor, Stonehenge, the Arctic Henge is like a huge sundial, aiming to capture the sunrays, cast shadows in precise locations and capture the light between aligned gateways.

History

Heimskautsgerðið (The Arctic-Henge) has it s roots in the innovators Erlingur Thoroddsen's speculations about the possibility to use endless vistas, where nothing obstructs the horizon, and the midnight sun. The idea to use the dwarf names from the eddic poem Völuspá (Prophecy of the Seeress) and modernize some aspects of the old world of the Sagas, soon became a part of these speculations. The first version of the idea is from 1998 but in 2004 it was finalized, with allusions to mythology and folklore, designed to interact with the unique natural light. The designer of the project is Haukur Halldórsson.

No one has been able to explain the dwarfs in the Völuspá, apart from Austri (East), Vestri (West), Norðri (North) and Suðri (South), who carry the sky. By connecting the names of the dwarfs to the season, as for example Bjartur (Bright) Blíður (Sweet) and Svásuður (Gengle) to the summer, it is possible to fit the names of the dwarfs to a yearly circle of 72 weeks. The year-circle of the dwarfs becomes a kind of almanac, where each dwarf controls a five day period. All the dwarfs have been given a role and they have all have their own personalities. This means that the dwarfs can be connected to birthdays and people can connect to their personal dwarf.

Around this made up world rises the Heimskautsgerði (Arctic-Henge) on the Melrakkaás (Foxhill) in Raufarhöfn. The Heimskautsgerði is around 50 meters in diameter, with 6 meter high gates that face the main directions. Between the gates is a high wall with a small opening at the top. Inside the circle stands 10 meter high column on four pillars. The column will be topped with cut prism-glass that splits up the sunlight unto the primary colors. The opening between the pillar look towards the main directions, so example the midnight sun can be seen from the south gate through the middle column and the north gate. The play of light and shadow will follow the time of the day. The openings on the wall will let in the sunrays so when the building is completed a sundial can be set up.

Inside the circle are 68 dwarfs who stand around a circular dwarf trail. Inside the trail is the polar star pointer, and does exactly what its name says. There you can also find the throne of the sun that is meant to be a place where the traveler can sit down to have his picture taken. Also a hall of rays, which is a sort of sanctuary between high columns, with one seat, where the guest can empty his mind an renew his energy. An altar of fire and water, reminds us of the power of the elements, where events can be performed, for example weddings, oath-taking and so forth.

More information available at www.arctichenge.com

Getting There

It´s about 130 km from Húsavík, but good roads all the way, so allow 1.5 hrs.
Follow the road 85 northeast out of Húsavík, past Ásbyrgi, taking the 874 road junction east just before Kópasker. Once in Raufarhöfn, you can´t miss the stones, looming impressively on the hill above the town. There is a short track to drive up, or you can walk if you prefer. Here is the route.

Fishing

A day out fishing is a good family activity, and the north of Iceland has countless lakes and rivers, e.g. Svínavatn, Ljósavatn and Ysta-Vík near Grenivík, where the children can sit on the banks with their fishing rods. Then, at the end of the day, they can look on with pride, as their catch is grilled for the family meal. But one need not go far from the town or village to do some fishing; sitting at the end of the pier can also be fun.

Hvítserkur

Hvítserkur is a 15 m-high sea stack just off shore on the eastern side of Vatnsnes. Good seal spotting place at the estuary of the Sigridarstadir lake, south from the stack.

Kjarnaskógur woods

Kjarnaskógur Woods

South of Akureyri is one of the towns most popular outdoor area
- the woodland Kjarnaskógur. The recreational area is approx 800
hectars with more than 1.5 million trees, of many species planted within the
last 50 years. The area has diverse selection of trees and along the creek
Brunná one can find a tree sample track. For bird lovers, the area
is rich of birds and by the marshland in the north of the area (by Hundatjörn
in Naustaborgir) there is a bird watching shelter. A campsite is nearby,
Hamrar, with easy access to the forest.

In the forest you find:

* Three playgrounds

* Volleyball courts and outdoor gym


* Grill houses and pick-nick areas for both individuals and groups


* Aprox. 12 km of gravel-tracks for hiking, running and biking, of which 6 km
are lighted during dark hours. Also plenty of forest tracks and other vast
network of back country trails. For more details view the maps further down the
page.


* Restrooms and water fountain


* 4 carparks


* Mountain bike trails are in the woods and are also connected to the mountain
bike trails in Mt. Hlíðarfjall - These combined create the longest mountain
bike trail in Iceland with a total of 21.6 km.


* During winter - the largest organized cross country tracks area (in a
woodland area in Iceland) with around 20 km of groomed trails and 6
km are lighted. The grooming statues can be
viewed here. The colors on
the map indicate the time since they were groomed last (green, orange and pink
are from a couple of hours up to 48 hours, while light blue, dark blue and grey
are from 2 days or up to 14 days or more). Areas for sledding are also groomed
during winter, by the statue of the Einar wood-ranger and below the sun-clock.

How to get there:

Head south from the town along the road no. 823, pass the airport and turn
right by the sign "Kjarnaskogur" and follow the bending road up to
the parking area. Aprox 5 min drive from town center and 30 minutes walk.


It is possible to take bus number 1, 2 or 5 from town square,
Ráðhústorg, and go out at Kjarnagata/Vallatún, by the golf course. From there
is about two km. walk to Kjarnaskógur area.

Contact info:

Skógræktarfélag Eyfirðinga


Sími: (+354) 462 4047


Email: ingi@kjarnaskogur.is


Webpage:
www.skog.is/skograektarfelag-eyfirdinga/

Map of the area: Kjarnaskógur - Easy and shorter walks
https://www.visitakureyri.is/static/files/2012-VISIT/pdf/kjarnasogur-lettleidir-1-.pdf

Kjarnaskógur - All tails - overview map
https://www.visitakureyri.is/static/files/2012-VISIT/pdf/kort-2018-stora-kortid-a-orva-a2.pdf

Hamrar - the campingsite and surrounding
trails

https://www.visitakureyri.is/static/files/2012-VISIT/pdf/kort-2018-hamrar-lett-an-orva.pdf

Naustaborgir - Naturereserve area -
trails

https://www.visitakureyri.is/static/files/2012-VISIT/pdf/kort-2018-naustaborgir-lett-an-orva.pdf

Gönguskíðabrautir - Crosscountrytrails
https://www.visitakureyri.is/static/files/2012-VISIT/pdf/gonguskidi.pdf

Museums

Children are naturally inquisitive and visiting museums is, therefore, often an exciting project. The north of Iceland has an abundant flora of museums, housing a wide variety of topics and interests. It should, therefore be an easy matter to find something to suit all members of the family. Here are some of the museums which might appeal to the younger visitor:

Glaumbær in Skagafjörður, The Christmas Garden in Eyjafjörður, The Vehicle and Machinery Museum at Stóragerði, The Museum of Small Exhibits in Eyjafjörður, The Whale Museum in Húsavík, The Icelandic Seal Centre at Hvammstangi, The Bird Museum in the Mývatn District and the Aviation Museum in Akureyri.

Seals

Sellátur is the Icelandic name given to an area by the sea which is the breeding ground for seals and these are to be found wherever seal colonies have settled. The breeding grounds are usually close to the tidemark and seals can be seen lying on the beach or splashing around in the sea at high tide. In each colony there can be as few as one or two animals or as many as several hundreds. Vatnsnes is the best place in the north to study these creatures.

Walking tracks

Walking is a great way to stay healthy as well as being a pleasant form of outdoor exercise - and is one which can be enjoyed by all the family. Although all children love being active, they may also demand to have some games woven into the activity menu. Therefore, it is important to make the walk as exciting and adventurous as possible, but remembering to gear the programme to suit the interests and ability of the youngest members of the group. This will guarantee their full participation and also make sure that they want to do it all again and again!

North Iceland

Towns & Villages

Society and the economy have many faces. Whereas agriculture is the mainstay of rural areas, the towns depend upon fishing, industry, trade and a range of services, with each village having its own characteristics though they all prove hospitable hosts. 
The availability of food and accommodation and the possibilities at every location for recreation and entertainment make hopping between the villages informative as well as fun.   
In every case, the residents are lively and ready to celebrate.

Explore map with pictures

Map Akureyri Eyjafjarðarsveit Grímsey Raufarhöfn Kópasker Þórshöfn Bakkafjörður Húsavík Mývatn Laugar Svalbarðseyri Grenivík Hjalteyri Hauganes Árskógssandur Dalvík Hrísey Ólafsfjörður Siglufjörður Hofsós Hólar Varmahlíð Sauðárkrókur Skagaströnd Blöndós Hvammstangi Laugarbakki Borðeyri