Sheep Round up
Horses, Sheep, Sagas and Northern Lights in North Iceland
Autumn in Iceland brings a fascinating tradition to life when the farmers ride into the mountains to collect their sheep that that have been spending the summer almost wild in the mountains. Imagine thousands of sheep coming down the mountains, herded by horsemen and their dogs. Be part of this exciting heritage and help to collect and sort the sheep so all of them can return safe to their home farms. Autumn in Iceland is beautiful, we enjoy the golden autumn light and the mountains glow in flaming red, purple and brown when heather, birch and willow take on their fancy autumn dress. And with a little luck we might be able to see the dancing northern lights during the arctic night – a truly magic experience!
When you take part in the Icelandic Round ups you are a true part of it – it is „Authentic Iceland“ at its best! Riding distances are about 20 km per day and accommodation is provided at a lovely farm lodge in rooms with private facilities and a hot tub close to the sorting pen.
Type: Multi day tour with spare horses running along in a herd
Operated by: A trusted partner of Exploring Iceland Tour
Duration: 6 days / 5 nights/ 4 riding days
Level of expertise required: Experienced riders in good physical shape
Area: North Iceland
Accommodation: Double /twin with private facilities at a farm lodge and hotel (1st night). Single rooms are spare and a single room supplement applies. Accommodation in Reykjavik after the ride is not included but can be arranged.
Meals: Full board starting with breakfast on day 2 and ending with breakfast at day 6. Lunch is mostly picnic lunch.
Min: Guaranteed departure
Max: 12 guests
Guide: English and German speaking
Maximum Weight: 110 kg
Price 2022: ISK 283.000
Single rooms are spare and a single room supplement applies. Please contact us for availability and prices.
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Day by day itinerary
Day 1: Arrival in Iceland – Meeting with other guests at Guesthouse in Keflavík.
Individual arrival in Iceland. Please take a taxi to the Bed & Breakfast Guesthouse in Keflavík where you will meet the group. The evening is spend individually, you can go for a stroll, check out the restaurant right next door and meet & and chat with your new friends and fellow riders! Good to know: The night and breakfast tomorrow morning is included but not the taxi (approx. ISK 3.000).
Day 2: Transfer to the farm – first ride to Dæli Farm Lodge
Breakfast with the guides in the morning and bus transfer to the North where you will meet the horses and rest of the team. Our first ride is to get acqainted with the horses, the Icelandic tack and of course the beautiful soft tölt – the main travelling gait of the Icelandic Horse. We ride on remote tracks and learn a lot about the Icelandic Horse, its past and modern significance for the Icelandic people. Our ride takes us right towards the mountains, while the horses camp outside in the fields, we spend the night at Dæli Farm Lodge, our home for the next four nights. After a lovely hearty dinner we spend the evening in the warm hot tubs looking out for the Northern Lights!
Riding distance (ca. 20 km).
Dæli Farm Lodge
3. Day: Bjargsstaðir – Sheep Gathering
Today we spend the whole day up in the mountains helping the farmers to find and collect their sheep. At the sheep paddock (réttir) each farmer has to find his sheep in the huge herd and sort them into his private pen. A helping hand is appreciated but if you do not want to get into the „thick of it“ just watch and enjoy! Dinner and a bath in the hot tub and hopefully some beautiful Northern Lights await us after the ride!
(Riding distance: approx. 20 km)
4. Day: Bjargsstaðir – Bjargshóll
After breakfast we start riding again and take Eggert´s sheep back to his farm Bjargshóll. We go slowly with the herd of sheep and enjoy the beautiful sight of white, grey and brown sheep among the colourful heather and dwarf birch. At regular intervalls we rest the sheep until we reach their home meadows at Bjargshóll farm. This is authentic Icelandic Farm life as good as it gets! We ourselves drive back to our cozy lodge and hot tub!
(Riding distance: approx. 20 km).
5. Day: Bjarg – Sheep gathering
Today we ride to Bjarg, a famous historical farm where the outlaw Gréttir the Strong was born and raised.
Composed at the end of the fourteenth century by an unknown author the Saga of Grettir tells about the life of the eleventh-century viking warrior struggling to hold on to the values of a heroic battle age becoming eclipsed by Christianity and a more pastoral lifestyle. Unable to settle into a community of farmers, Grettir becomes the aggressive scourge of both honest men and evil monsters - until, following a battle with the sinister ghost Glam, he is cursed to endure a life of tortured loneliness away from civilisation, fighting giants, trolls and berserks. At Bjarg Farm we set out again to look for sheep in need of gathering before the winter arrives. Again the sheep are sorted and then brought back to their home farm Bjargshóll on horseback. Here we release sheep and horses into their well deserved rest on the home meadows. We drive back to Dæli for a our last dinner together.
(Riding distance: approx. 20 km)
Day 6: Back to Reykjavík
Departure from the North after breakfast (ca 11:00) and return to Reykjavík. Approx. arrival at 14:00. Drop off at BSÍ bus station in Reykjavík to catch the flybus to Keflavík airport. From there you can also easily catch a taxi to your accommodation in the capital area. We are more than happy to arrange your Reykjavík accommodation for you!
Please make sure you also read our Useful Information about Riding Tours
Exploring Iceland reserves the right to alter routes, itineraries or timetables should the necessity arise. The estimated duration of tours as indicated by km or timing can change according to road or weather conditions. Please note that the Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon and sightings can not be guaranteed. Short time Forecast
Good to know:
When you participate in the Round Ups you are experiencing the real Thing! You will be one of the group to herd and sort the animals. Of course that means long hours outside in sometimes cold weather. Iceland in autumn has many colors and types of weather. Anticipate to be in golden sunshine one moment and to ride in rain and even sleet during the next. We therefore recommend to dress well during these tours, to bring long woolen underwear and lots of woolen socks and gloves. It is also good to bring some quick energy supplies like chocolate. A warm rider is a happy rider! Individual travel insurance is not included in the tour price. We encourage clients to obtain relevant travel insurance before visiting Iceland. See for example: https://www.worldnomads.com/
We are more than happy to assist you in arranging additional nights in Reykjavík and any further explorations of Iceland.