Updated: Nov 6, 2020
The history of this village starts at the end of the 19th century when Norwegians set up a whaling station not far from Hesteyri. There was a school, a shop, a church (sensitive subject), a post office with telephone communication and a local doctor’s house. In 1915, the station closed when Iceland imposed a 10 year ban on whaling in Icelandic waters. In 1927, a company from Reykjavik bought the whaling station from the Norwegians and converted it into a herring factory. In those years, up to 80 people lived in Hesteyri to work in the factory and its support services. The herring factory operated until 1940 when herring stocks began to go down due to over-fishing in the area. This led to the factory’s closure and Hesteyri’s inhabitants forced to move away to find employment and better life condition elsewhere In 1952 there were only 30 people living in Hesteyri village and in the spring they had a meeting in the community house to figure out what to do about the situation. On that meeting they decided to leave Hesteyri all together the following autumn. Since November that year nobody has permanently lived there.
They were the last few inhabitants on the Hornstrandir peninsula.
THE OLD DOCTORS HOUSE
The doctor’s house is used as a summer café and guesthouse in Summer, we met the owner and few friends of his, they were all very welcoming and we ended up chatting and having a great time, they told us stories from Hornstrandir and we learned that the Norwegians that built the whaling station gave Hesteyri inhabitants a church…which was later moved (stolen?) to Súðavík by the order of Bishop.
OLD WHALING STATION AT HESTEYRI Norwegian whalers built a factory there in 1890 along with harbors and dwellings for workers.
THE HIKE We decided to Hike from Hesteyri to Hlöðuvík which is about 15 km and then back the day after. Going through snow, rivers, steep hills up and down, beaches in the scorching sun with a backpack weighing about 18kg, I must say this is one of the toughest things I’ve done, yet so rewarding. I would do it again in a heartbeat… We got really lucky with the weather, the people who dropped us of told us that they had been having some really bad weather last 2 weeks. And looking back i’m not sure what we would have done if the weather had been like that, two inexperienced guys in Hornstrandir without phone or 4g signal. Wikiloc trail - Hesteyri - Hlöðuvík Wikiloc trail - Hlöðuvík - Hesteyri
Climbing Lönguhlíðardal with Hesteyri in the back, you can also see Sergio in the middle of the picture.
Gives you some idea of the size and steep of the snowhill.
WILDLIFE IN HORNSTRANDIR
The Artic Fox,
As the seasons change, the Arctic fox changes the color of its coat. In the spring and summer, it has a dark coat, to match the brown dirt in its environment. In the fall and winter, it turns white, to match the surrounding snow.