I spent the day chilling at my aunt’s farm, Berunes, in between walking to the beach and the mountain.
I started the day with a stroll along the beach, and then sat myself down on the veranda, reading a book in the sunshine. I fancied climbing the mountain peak above the farm (Berunestindur) but the infamous Eastern-fjords-fog (austfjarðaþokan) covered my path.
– You stay where you are city-boy, said the Eastern-fjords-fog, I am the one who makes the calls around here.
Even though I am a city-boy, I knew it was just a bluff. It would not hold it out all day. Hence, at two o’clock, with the peaks still covered with fog, I tied on my shoes and headed uphill.
I got a brief explanation from my aunt on the best way to reach the peaks. Since the peaks were sill covered with fog, I could only imagine how here route description applied to the mountains. But it was fairly clear. I should go east following the flags. Then I should head west across the stream and approach the peaks from there.
So that’s what I did. I followed the flags. I turned west and found a stream which I crossed and followed its gully on the west side. As I ascended the mountain the fog retreated. I knew it. It was just a bluff. I knew it would retreat if I pushed it.
I continued my way up the hill and navigated between the cliffs. I was a bit surprised how steep the route was and laid with cliffs that were non-trivial to navigate and needed an educated guess to find the right path. When my aunt described the route it sounded fairly trivial.
Anyway, I ascended the mountain, applying some light climbing through the steepest cliffs, reaching a saddle point between two peaks. Now I had a choice. On the left there was a peak and on the right there was a peak. Since I wanted to reach the top of Berunestindur, I just needed to ascend the corresponding peak. The problem was that I did not know which one was Berunestindur. Hence, I decided to ascend them both.
I started with the one on the left, since it was closer and easier. Then I made my way to the other. From both peaks the view was wonderful. To the south, I could see Berufjörður (fjord) and Búlandstindur (peak) on the other side, and the fjords and mountains beyond. To the north I could see Beiðdalur (valley) and plenty of mountains further north. The view was absolutely fantastic.
After a short stop on the top I hiked down again, berry-picking routes to avoid steep cliffs. It was not a trivial descent but by carefully choosing my way I was able to get down through the cliffs and to the easier slopes. With the cliffs behind me I could do a different sort of berry-picking, namely I could literally pick berries. Which I did.
I reached my aunt’s farm at around six, with four hours of hiking behind me. I discussed the hike with my aunt and she looked surprised when I told her that I had found it quite challenging and not suitable for novice hikers. Again the fog had covered the peaks so I could not point out directly which route I had taken.
Later in the evening when we had finished the barbecue, the fog had cleared again and we could discuss rotes. It turned out that there are two streams going down from the mountain, each in its own gully. Following the western gully looked like a nice and comfortable hike to the top. Following the eastern gully looked like a fairly steep hike with plenty of cliffs to try to avoid. It turned out that I took the latter route. No wonder that it was to be more challenging than the casual description that my aunt had given me.
After referring with my aunt, I found out that the first peak that I ascended was indeed Berunestindur. The latter one is called Steinketill.
In the end I am quite glad that I went for the steeper route. Even if it was more difficult than the recommended one, it gave me a nice confidence in my own ability to read mountains and find doable routes between challenging cliffs.