"There is no beauty in this"
Landlords are expected to meet in early November for discussing the issue of Kirkjufell in Grundarfjörður, according to landowner Jóhannes Þorvarðarson. The land in Kirkjufell is divided into three holdings, and Jóhannes says it takes time to get people together as there are many landowners.
“We have received a good response from the Minister of the Environment, who contacted us yesterday and offered their assistance. The town authorities and others involved are all invited and are willing to assist in any way they can, and we are going to try to work this very professionally with all parties and find a lasting solution to this,” Jóhannes tells mbl.is.
Kirkjufell is the new Reynisfjara
A foreign tourist died on Wednesday while traveling through the mountain and in the past few years there have been a few fatal accidents.
“We are very worried about this, and all the people of the town, because we don’t want to go to the new Reynisfjara beach in the west,” says Þorvarðarson.
Also dangerous for first responders
“When this happens, the whole community goes through a turmoil. Volunteer workers who are rescuing people there are a part of our community and so are their families. They are affected by this. We are also very concerned about people hiking in the mountain after summer, but also the first responders who are putting themselves in danger trying to assist people who hike the mountain and perhaps are not prepared well enough and need help.
We don’t feel it is something they should do and it’s just not worth it,” Bjarni Sigurbjörnsson, farmer at Eiður and a town official in Grundarfjörður, tells mbl.is.
He says locals do not go up the mountain at this time of year unless in a dire need, as conditions are extremely dangerous. “It’s a no-fly zone and certainly not for untrained people to go and basically nobody should go hiking in Kirkjufell at this time of year.”
Kirkjufell is no less stunning in winter than in summer, but it is very dangerous to hike becaues just off the track there you can slide and fall down meters. Photo: Teresa Michalczyk
Getting to be almost as dangerous as Reynisfjara
Some have questioned whether it is advisable to close the Kirkjufell area during the winter season, including the outgoing tourist manager, but Sigubjörnsson says that is quite difficult to implement.
“A lot of work has been done here. A sign has been put up and everyone is aware of this, the landowners have been in good contact with the town and we are going to help find a solution to this issue. We are losing almost about the same number of people as we are in Reynisfjara Black Beach.
We want people to be able to enjoy being in nature and enjoy the beauty of it, but with these accidents, there’s no beauty in this.”