Hvítserkur, meaning white rock or white shirt, is a 15 meter high Monolith that stands just off shore on the eastern side of Vatnsnes, at the bottom of Húnafjörður fjord in vestur-húnavatnsýsla. The Monolith is the remains of a volcanic plug from a volcanic eruption from before the last ice age. Sea erosion has eaten away the softer rock surrounding it leaving only the monolith behind. A few bird species nest in the cliff, for example Fulmars, Cormorants and shags and the monolith is coloured white because of their droppings. And it’s most likely from this white colour that the monolith draws its name.
However there is a folklore tale about the origins of the monolith which gives an alternative version for the origins and the name of the monolith. The story goes that at the time of settlement there was a giant by the name Hvítserkur that lived in the mountains of strandir at the east of the westfjords. When the settlers first started coming to the island they originally worshiped the Norse pagan gods, the same gods as Hvítserkur so they did not bother him much. But after a while the religion changed and a Christian church was erected across the Húnaflói bay at a place called Þingeyrar (Thingeyrar). In the church tower they had placed a huge bell and they would ring it at all hours during the day. Because Hvítserkur was nocturnal, as are all giants, the bell would wake him up from his slumber and thus infuriate him. After many sleepless days he could not take it anymore and decided to take his hammer and go during the night and destroy the church bell. He started wading over the bay but he forgot to take into account that the delta of a few rivers flows into the fjords at the bottom of the bay, and the current can get very strong as well as they carry a lot of sand, mud and clay that sits at the bottom making wading through it a difficult and time consuming task. After making it only a little more than half the way he could see the sunrise starting to creep up the horizon. Panicked he threw the hammer in hopes of hitting the church tower and destroying it by chance and started running back to the nearest shore hoping that there he could find shelter. The journey to shore was just as difficult and even though he struggled as hard as he could he only just made it to shoreline when he was struck by sunlight and immediately was turned into stone. And it is said that he has been standing there ever since. And in the sands near Þingeyrar it is said that you can still see the hammer sticking through where it had landed, a few hundred meters away from the church.
Hvítserkur is about 30 kilometres out from the main road (route no.1), down a country road nr. 711. Close to the monolith is a decent parking lot and a viewpoint overlooking it. A walking trail leads from the parking lot down towards the beach close to the rock. On nearby sand reef dozen or even hundreds of seals often laze-about curiously watching the people visiting the monolith. People are advised to be careful coming down the steps leading to the beach because they are quite steep and can be slippery when wet.
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