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In Iceland, a cairn marking a royal bladder

Driving Holtavorduheidi moor in wintertime is not so simple. PIC Screengrab

Driving Holtavorduheidi moor in wintertime is not so simple. PIC Screengrab

Millions of people out there love everything about royalty and find monarchies to be the best thing ever. Even for those there is stuff to see and explore in royal-less Iceland.

A particularly good story, and it could well be just that, revolves around a rather large cement cairn built in the middle of nowhere on a dangerous moor in the Northwest of Iceland.

cairns are widely found

Holtavorduheidi moor is one of the more difficult in Iceland. Weather up there is quite often dreadful and since part of the Ring Road around Iceland crosses the moor there are numerous instances yearly of people getting stuck in snow or icy conditions in wintertime. A bad place to be in since the distance to nearest help or cover could be rather long.

Now, cairns are widely found in higher places in Iceland. Those were the only markers to get around for centuries and in a country where the weather can turn on a dime those cairns have probably saved thousands upon thousands throughout.

But the particular one at Holtavorduheidi is different. It was not built to assist people traveling. It was built to commemorate a kings visit. More specifically, the king of Denmark Christian X and his queen wife, which traveled here in 1936. None of that should surprise. The Danes ruled over Iceland for a long time and since they left things have been going downhill fast.

But back to our fun little story. Legend goes that men had a little difficulty deciding upon where exactly to build the Kings cairn. According to same legends it was agreed to place it at the same spot where Christian happened to take a leak while traveling. If true, never has a monument be placed at a more correct spot if you ask us.

The cairn in question is visible from the road if driving slowly. For those dying to go we should also mention that Holtavorduheidi has for centuries been the scene of paranormal phenomena and old tales tell of mad trolls and madder elves wreaking havoc. Take out insurance first.


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