By Rauðinúpur

One thinks back to bright summer nights during the shortest days of the year. Where will we travel next summer? The first thing that came to mind is Rauðinúpur, the northernmost and westernmost part of the Melrakki plain (Melrakkaslétta), the northernmost part of Iceland.

I go there every year, sometimes often, because no place is as beautiful in summer as that place. The light, the birdlife, the intimacy with nature. Now it’s dark and cold, and you don’t understand how our ancestors survived the long winter there. But on the Melrakki plain, which is now mostly deserted, hundreds of people lived a hundred years ago. They had a pretty good life, as the land was suitable for sheep. Easy to row out to the fishing grounds, trout was in the lakes, and it was easy to take eggs from the thousands of seabirds that nest on the plains. That is what made life tolerable for people of that time.

Melrakkaslétta, Rauðinúpur is rising from the sea, looking northeast from Tjörnes.


Grjótnes around midnight in early June. Rauðinúpur on the far right. Some say that this is the most beautiful farmstead in the country.

The beach by Núpskatla, Rauðinúpur to the left

Tourists setting off to Rauðinúpur by Kötluvatn

Gannet in flight at midnight in June by Karl on Rauðinúpur


Looking north over Leirhöfn to Rauðinúpur at 23:57 on June 23 this year.

Five sheep in front of Jón Trausti and Karl, the two rocks that stand guard north of Rauðinúpur on the Melrakkaslétta.

Photographs & text: Páll Stefánsson

Melrakkassletta 2018/2022 : A7RIV, A7R III, RX1R II : FE 1.8/14mm GM , FE 1.8/135m GM, 2.0/35mm Z