Tour 21 – 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.
We are life long horsemen so we are pretty critical of these types of places. First off the ponies are very well cared for and in very good health. Second the guides are first class. They do a very good job of getting you on the right pony and in the right group of people. I highly recommend this group if you are interested in riding while you are in Iceland.
6 days, 5 nights – 5 days on horseback
Departure Date & Price: see overview at the end of the page
Around 90 km
English speaking guide, riding and safety equipment and transfer from/to Reykjavik.
Accommodation in Eldhestars Guesthouse in 2-4 bedrooms (shared rooms) with made up beds and shared facilities.
What to bring
Good shoes, comfortable pants (riding pants not necessary), gloves and a buff is recommended and if you want to bring a camera, please bring a small waist bag as backpacks cannot be taken on horseback.
See more detailed information here.
This tour is for experienced riders only.
DAY BY DAY TOUR PROGRAM
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 also o get to know our horses. In the morning we will make a short riding tour in the neighbourhood 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 to the valley Þjórsársdalur, We will join them from the waterfall Hjálparfoss and help the farmers to bring the sheep down to the Fossnes, where they will be kept over the night. This is an adventure which requires a lot of hard work though gives the participants a possibility 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 after the ride.