Landowners Announce Hiking Ban on Popular Mt. Kirkjufell

Kirkjufell mountain on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Landowners of Mt. Kirkjufell have announced a winter hiking ban, RÚV reports. The aim of the ban, which takes effect today, is to ensure the safety of travellers and first responders; three deaths have occurred on the mountain over the past four years.

Ill prepared and oblivious to danger

On Saturday, November 5, landowners of the property on which Mt. Kirkjufell is situated met with the mayor and planning officer of Grundarfjörður alongside representatives from first responders and the Icelandic Tourist Board. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a response to the sharp rise in travellers and the numerous serious accidents that have been suffered during hikes up the mountain (including three deaths over the past four years).

This morning, the landowners sent a press release to various media outlets announcing that all hiking on the mountain would be banned, starting today, November 8. The press release noted, however, that hikers would be allowed to hike up the mountain in June of next year when nesting season had concluded. Signs will be installed on hiking paths and in the parking lot near Kirkjufellsfoss to relay this information.

Arrowhead Mountain attracts visitors

As noted in an article in RÚV, Mt. Kirkjufell became one of Iceland’s most popular attractions after appearing in the TV series Game of Thrones (as Arrowhead Mountain). Since then, a growing number accidents and deaths “necessitate increased safety measures,” according to property owners. Vegetation on the mountain has also suffered due to the number of hikers, which imposes a further threat to safety.

According to the press release, the property owners have noticed that many foreign travellers seem oblivious to the dangers of hiking up the mountain: “they hike up without the proper gear and in dangerous conditions.” Most of the accidents occur during fall or winter when conditions are the most difficult, which in turn endangers the safety of response parties, dispatched in the event of accidents.

The landowners concluded their statement by entreating everyone in the tourist and information business to remind travellers not to hike up Mt. Kirkjufell during winter. “These measures are taken with everyone’s safety in mind.”

Mouse Infestation “Unlike Anything” Exterminator Has Seen

In an interview with RÚV, a seasoned exterminator has stated that Iceland is currently experiencing a mouse infestation the likes of which he’s never seen. He encourages people to take the necessary precautions.

A 43-year career in extermination

Despite their small stature, mice can be an outsized pest for homeowners. Árni Logi Sigurbjörnsson, an exterminator of 43 years, has been busy over the past days – in light of a countrywide mouse infestation.

“The infestation traces its roots to favourable weather conditions,” Árni told RÚV. “Flush growth of vegetation last spring has meant plenty of nourishment for mice. Then when you have these long days of rain and the temperature begins to drop – hovering around freezing during nights – they begin to seek shelter in cars and homes, cottages and bales, because mouseholes aren’t exactly ideal.”

Árni recommends that individuals take good care of their possessions by taking the necessary precautions and installing mousetraps; mice can squeeze in through holes as small as ten millimetres. “I encourage people to be on their guard because mice, even though they’re small, can wreak great damage.”







President Embarks on Lecture Tour of New England, New York

President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson.

President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson embarked on a lecture tour to the US yesterday. Guðni will be lecturing at Dartmouth, Williams College, and Cornell University.

A lecture on independence at Dartmouth

Yesterday, November 7, President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson embarked on a three-day lecture tour of the northeastern US. The president’s first lecture will be held at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire as sponsored by the Stefansson Arctic Institute of Akureyri and the Institute of Arctic Studies at Dartmouth.

Vilhjálmur Stefánsson – who was a Manitoba-born Arctic explorer and ethnologist born – spent the final years of his professional career at Dartmouth, which also houses his private library. The president’s lecture will focus on independence and international cooperation from the vantage point of Iceland’s experience, nationalism, and globalisation.

Read More: The Mixed Legacy of Arctic Explorer Vilhjálmur Stefánsson

“As the Arctic has increasingly become the centre of political, economic, environmental, and strategic discourse,” a notice for the lecture reads, “the nations and peoples have had to contend with rapidly changing times. The President offers his reflections on this subject, and how Iceland continues to manoeuvre through the challenging political waters of a transforming world.”

Williams College and Cornell

On Wednesday, Guðni will visit Williams College in Massachusetts where he will engage in a public discussion with Dr. Magnús Bernharðsson, Brown Professor of History and Global Studies Chair, on Iceland’s image and international status. The Williams College Chamber Choir will also perform a selection of Icelandic songs in the President’s honour.

Finally, Guðni will visit Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, on Thursday, November 10. Cornell has a longstanding relationship with Iceland, which began with Daniel Willard Fiske, Cornell’s first university librarian. Fiske, who was an avid collector of Icelandic books, bequeathed almost 9,000 volumes to Cornell upon his death in 1904.

Cornell has also collaborated with the Resource Park in Iceland on the utilisation of geothermal heat. The President will be accompanied to Cornell by representatives from the Resource Park and the Icelandic government. Guðni’s lecture is entitled “Can Small States Make a Difference? The Case of Iceland on the International Scene.”

The President will return to Iceland on Friday.