Sheep Roundup

This tour provides the unique experience of participating in an Icelandic roundup of sheep. This is a hardworking adventure that allows the participant to experience Icelandic nature and the Icelandic soul – both guaranteed to leave a lasting impression.

After lambs are born in May the sheep are released to the region´s mountain pastures, large areas which are separated from each other by a well-build sheep fence or a natural border (large rivers, glaciers, etc).  In September, farmers ride into the mountains with their dogs to collect their sheep, as it has been done for centuries. Depending on the area, the gathering of the sheep can take up to a week and is hard work on horseback and on foot. For each area there is a “mountain-king” or even a “queen” who is the “leader” – he coordinates the round-up and the farmers and keeps control over everything. Each area has its own “rétt” where sheep are collected and sorted. 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.

6 nights – 5 days on horseback – ca. 90 km. Accommodation in Eldhestar Guesthouse in 2-4 bed rooms with made up beds and shared facilities, , full board.

Date 2018: September 11-17.

This tour is for experienced riders. 

Day-by-day description

Sheep Round Up

Come to Iceland and experience  the sheep roundup. Help the farmers to bring home the sheep from the summer grazing in the mountains.

Day 1. Arrival to Keflavik- transfer to Vellir and Hotel Eldhestar
After arrival to Keflavik participants take the airport bus “Flybus” to BSI (the final station of the “Flybus”) where an Eldhestar representative will be meeting you at 17.30. From there, we will drive to the farm Vellir in Ölfus, Southern part of Iceland. After dinner you will get an overview over the next days and your specific task.

Day 2. Riding  – Get to know the horses!
This first day will be used to check out the participants riding skill and alsot o get to know our horses. In the moring we will make a short riding tour in the neighborhood of our farm.  After lunch we will make 2,5-3 hours riding tour (Tour 3A – Meadows and Mountain). We ride over meadows and  then follow the old route towards Mt. Ingólfsfjall, named after the first Norwegian Viking who settled in Iceland, and finish the tour along Mt. Reykjafjall.  After we stop off at the swimming pool in Hveragerði we’ll return to the hotel where dinner will be served!

Day  3. Riding and bringing  the sheep down to Þjórsárdalur
On day 3, farmers in the community of Gnúpverjahreppur  bring their  sheep from Hólaskógur and down tpo  the valley Þjórsársdalur, We will join them from the waterfall Hjálparfoss and help the farmers to bring the sheep down to the Fossnes, were they will be kept over the night.  This is an adventure which requires a lot of hard work though gives the participants a possiblity to experience both icelandic nature and spirit of the icelandic soul.

Day 4. Riding from Skaftholtsrétt  to Skeiðarétt
We start the day by watching and helping the farmer to separate their sheep at the pasture of Skaftholtsrétt, before we bring the sheep belonging to the farmers from the community Skeiðahreppur further down the valley Þjórsárdalur to the pasture of Reykjaréttir,  which is one of the  biggest „réttir“ in Iceland.

Day  5. Reykjaréttir – separating the sheep
The separating of the sheep starts at 9.00 in the morning and is finished around lunchtime. After the farmers have collected  their sheeps  they drive them back to their farms. We on the other hand are going back to Eldhestar for lunch and will be enjoying  a half day tour in the stable of Hveragerði and along the mountain Reykjafjall.

Day 6. A day ride – sursprise! 
Transfer back to Reykjavik in the afternoon. Accomodation in a guesthouse in Reykjavik.

Day 7. Breakfast and check out.
You can continue your journey in Iceland or take a  flight home.