In Iceland, the sheep round-up has a long tradition. Every year in September we offer this unique experience to our guests as a riding tour.
After lambs are born in May the sheep are released to the mountain pastures. During September, they are collected and driven home to the farms where they are going to spend the winter.
The sheep round-up is done in areas which are separated from each other by a well-build sheep fence or a natural border (large rivers, glaciers, etc). Each area has its own “rétt” which is the place where they collect and afterwards sort the sheep. For the round-up, all the farmers in the region and their families come together and help to collect the sheep as it has been done for centuries. It is hard work and depending on the length and the terrain it can be done by foot or on horseback. For each area there is a “mountain-king” which is the “leader” – he coordinates the round-up and the farmers and keeps control over everything.
When the sheep is collected from the mountains and driven into the “rétt”, the farmers start to sort them out. Each sheep has an ear mark so they know to which farm it belongs to. Sorting the sheep in the “rétt” is the biggest event of the sheep round-up everywhere in Iceland. People, family and friends come together, sing, talk and of course sort sheep 🙂
At some places in North Iceland horses, which have been spending the summer in the mountains, are also collected. Though they are not wild, they have an owner and stallions are not allowed.
This years Eldhestar´s sheep round-up tour was great fun, we participating in herding around 4000 sheep and helped to sort them. There will be a sheep round-up next year as well (9-15 Sept). We are sure that that will be a life-time experience for our guests, with both a lot of fun and great memories!
For more pictures of this years sheep round-up please click here