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Drangey

Drangey is a sheer sided palagonite cliff approximately 180m high; the top of the island is only accessible from one landing point.  Bird life on the island is diverse; however the most predominant varieties are puffin and guillemot.  Brunnich’s guillemot and other guillemots nest in the cliffs along with razor billed auks.  The puffin on the other hand digs holes on the edge of the cliff top.  Seagulls and other sea birds also call the island home along with ravens and gyrfalcons.
Abseiling for eggs and bird catching has long been a tradition on Drangey, the island providing much needed fresh food to the citizens of Skagafjordur after long and hard winters.   At its peek the island provided 200.000 birds and 24.000 eggs.


There are many folk tales associated with the island.  One states that when the bishop Guðmundur (the good) was asked to bless the island He did this by abseiling on the cliff, when he came to Heiðnaberg (Heathens Cliff – on the left of the access point to the island – notable for the cross that can be seen in the cliffs edge) a hairy hand with a knife came out of the cliff and cut into two strands of the rope from which he was hanging.   The third strand had been blessed by Guðmundur so the knife was unable to cut it.  He then heard the sound of a deep voice coming out from the cliff saying “Stop now Guðmundur – evil must have somewhere to live.  In another old folk tale it is said that two night trolls had been taking their cow across the fjord to be serviced by a bull on the other side, however they were caught by the sun on their return trip and were turned to stone.  Drangey is the cow and the old woman stands to the south of the island, the old man used to stand to the north but collapsed during an earthquake in 1755.

Drangey is the location of some of the most important parts of the Saga of Grettir, the most famous hero and outlaw in Iceland. Grettir Ásmundarson lived on the island for 3 years.  He swam from Drangey to Reykir to get fire; this was considered a major feat in its day.  In the year 1031 Grettir, along with his brother Illugi and slave Glaum, were killed in his hut on Drangey