Scary Sea Eagles

Birdwatchers love Leka for the chance to see the majestic white-tailed sea eagle, but historically parents have been less happy to see them. It was here, in 1932, that a particularly cheeky specimen snatched a three-year-old local girl called Svanhild and carried her off. She was, locals assure us, deposited by the eagle high on a mountain ledge, from where she was rescued…


Within easy walking distance of Leka's port area lies Herlaugshaugen, the second-largest Viking burial mound in Norway. Its origins date to the 10th century when, according to the Icelandic sagas, Harald Håfagre (known as Harald Fair Hair in English), Norway's first king, marched along the coast. As he neared Leka, the island's King Herlaug chose to be buried alive along with 11 of his men, rather than face Harald's all-conquering armies. Excavations in the 18th century revealed human and animal skeletons, weapons and even the remains of a boat.