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Dalir – The Valleys and Aud the Deep-Minded

Updated: Jul 26, 2021

The past few days I have been staying with dear friends and cousins at their home overlooking the beautiful Hvammsfjörður in the northern part of west Iceland. There are many valleys, mountains, hills, rivers, and trees. The local farms have many sheep, horses, and cattle. The local village is Búðardalur. We went for a tour to see the sights yesterday.

Dalir area

The area is historically important in many ways and some of our special ancestors settled in this area. Here is a very short story about just one amazing woman.

Auður djúpúðga (Aud the Deep-Minded) settled here in about 892. Her story is found in the Laxdæla Saga. Auður is the daughter of Ketill Flatnose, a wealthy Norwegian chieftain. He left Norway for Scotland to escape the tyranny of King Harald Fairhair. Auður married King Ólaf the White of Dublin but he was killed in a battle (but another interesting story). Auður and her son, Þorsteinn the Red, fled to the Orkney Islands where Þorsteinn became a king. He was killed and Auður again escaped - this time to Iceland.

Many place names in this valley are named because of Auður. In Breiðafjörður, she ate her breakfast at a place now called Dögurðarnes - Breakfast Headland. She sailed up the Hvammsfjörð and stopped for a time at Kambsnes - Comb Headland because here she lost her comb. At the head of the fjord, she found her high-seat pillars and here she settled at the farm Hvammur.

Auður set her slaves free and gave each of her followers land. The surrounding farms have the names of these followers: Ketilsstaðir, Erpsstaðir, Sökkólfsdalur, Vifilsdalur, Hundadalur, and Hörðudalur. A location called Krosshólaborg is in the photo below.


Unlike most other Icelandic settlers, Auður was baptized. She is credited with bringing Christianity to Iceland. She erected crosses on a prominent hill so she could pray. This hill is known as Krosshólaborg. The women of Dalir erected a beautiful stone cross here in honor of Auður. It is a very beautiful (and VERY WINDY) place overlooking the valley and the fjord.

Cross to honor Auður

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