Gunnuhver stands in the heart of the Reykjanes UNESCO Global Geopark where the North Atlantic ridge rises from the ocean. Just east of Reykjanesviti lighthouse is a large geothermal area, one of many in Reykjanes. The Gunnuhver hot spring is the most famous hot spring at that location. Gunnuhver takes its name from a ghost named Guðrún who caused a lot of havoc in the area 400 years ago until Eiríkur Magnússon, a priest in Vogsósum, managed to set a trap for her and she fell into the spring. It is said that through the mist of the pools, one can still see her fighting to escape,
Gunnuhver is Iceland´s largest mud pool at present prominent, highest up in the Gunnuhver area group. It is 20 (66 feet ) meters wide across a rim of mud and boiling vigorously. The mud pools take form where steam from boiling geothermal reservoir water emanates and condenses and mixes with surface water. Accompanying gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide make the water acid. This causes alteration of the fresh lava rock to clay.
In the year 2006, a huge tumbult hit the area, which expanded a lot and destroyed the road and walkways. At the end of June 2010, new walking platforms and viewing platforms where buildt making it easy access for everyone. Two ramps are located at the Gunnuhver group, one close to Gunnuhver itself, where you can look down to the spring and hear the hissing vigorous noise, see the boiling water and feel the power bursting from the ground and the steam on your face. The other ramp is located on Kísilhól a silica hill. From there you have a good view over Gunnuhver group and the surrounding geothermalarea.
The story of Gunna the gohst
In the past, a man named Vilhjálmur lived in Kirkjuból in Suðurnes. He had a neighbor named Guðrún, who owed him a debt but didn’t have the money to pay it off. To settle her debt, Vilhjálmur took one of Guðrún’s pots as collateral.
Some time later, Gunna came to Kirkjuból and asked for a drink. She seemed agitated, so she was given consecrated mass wine. Gunna poured the wine out, drank a bucket of water, and left, leaving people amazed. She then went home.
A man who lived with her had gone fishing that day. But when he came back home, Gunna was dead in her bed. A coffin was built for her and she was brought to Útskálakirkja church for her funeral. However, during the procession, those carrying the coffin noticed it was strangely light, but they didn’t investigate further. But when the grave was being taken, it is said that Gunna was seen amongst the seaweed at Útskálar and said: “There’s no need to dig deep. I won’t be lying down for long.”
After this, there was a rumor that the Reykjanes peninsula was very haunted.
A little later, Vilhjálmur attended a party at Útskáli and stayed until late in the evening. Despite being offered an escort due to a true rumor, he declined it as he was brave and slightly intoxicated. Unfortunately, Vilhjálmur did not make it home and was discovered the next day in Hrossalág, severely beaten.
He was taken to a prayer house in Kirkjuból and two men were hired to watch over him. Near midnight they came in and refused to go out again.
Two additional men were hired on the next night but declined to stay for another night despite their vigilance.
An accomplished priest from Útskálar was subsequently enlisted to oversee the proceedings, and he described the night as being among the most challenging he had ever encountered. Following that fateful evening, Vilhjálm’s remains were laid to rest without further incident.
Gunna caused tension by raiding houses and scaring cattle. The situation escalated, and two most energetic men were sent to ask Sir Eirík in Vogsósum for help. Despite being initially dismissive, he eventually accepted eight pots of brandy they offered as payment for the help.
He confronted them and handed them a knot and a note with two knots. He instructed them to deliver it to Gunna, which they did. Gunna proceeded to untie the knots and read the letter.. It is said that she had this to say: “I expected the devil, but not the man from Vogósi.”
Gunna let the knot slide and followed it running around Reykjanes until the knot came to an end on a rim of a hotspring that she fell into in here haste, and that hotspring is from there on called Gunnuhver.