The Power of Gullfoss
Gullfoss is a natural phenomean with a unique history that has managed to trigger different feelings in many people from all around the world those who choose to visit it. The waterfall is located in the canyon of the Hvítá river in southwest Iceland. This area is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country and well worth a visit.
I will not sell my friend!
In 1907 an Englishman named Howells wanted to harness the Power of Gullfoss for electricity generation. Tómas Tómasson, an Icelandic farmer declined the offer and famously said: “I will not sell my Friend”
Later on the Waterfall was rented by foreign owners. The daughter of the farmer Tómas Tómasson, Sigríður Tómasdóttir hoped to get the contract voided. Sigríður grew up working on a sheep farm and with her own savings she hired a lawyer from Reykjavík to fight her case but her attempts in court failed.
During the court battle Sigríður felt that strongly about Gullfoss that she even threatened to throw herself in if any new construction began but fortunately in 1929 the foreign investors contract was terminated due to lack of payments for the rent of the waterfall. During this period Sigríður Tómasdóttir walked long journeys over mountain roads, worked tirelessly around the clock meeting government officials in Reykjavík to highlight the need to preserve the waterfall. In view of her struggle it was brought to peoples attention and because of this she is known as Iceland’s first environmentalist. A plaque memorial to Sigriður sits above the waterfall.
I visited Gullfoss in April, 2014. One of the first things i noticed was not just the sheer power of the Waterfall which is clearly visible but how clean the freshness of the air was. I took big breaths in and knew i was looking at something quite unique, beautiful and natural. I enjoyed the fact that snow lay on the large areas of the landscape giving tourists a chance to take picturesque photos they could bring home with them.“No Waterfall in Europe can match Gullfoss. In wildness and fury it outdoes the Niagara Falls of the United States. Thousands of unharnessed horsepowers flow continuously into the gorge, year in and year out. Soon, however, Gullfoss will be harnessed for electricity production to supply the inhabitants of the south of the country with abundance of light and heat”
This is taken from a travel book by two danes in the retinue of King Fredrick VII after a visit to Gullfoss, 1907.
Gullfoss has also inspired many musicians from around the World. Above is the front cover of the 1983 album ‘Porcupine‘ by Echo & the Bunnymen. The picture was taken during a frozen over Gullfoss which also appeared in the band’s first single from the album, titled Cutter. See the video below.
If you want to know more information about Gullfoss Waterfall, click here for the Official website.