Sheep Round-Up riding holiday in Iceland - Far and Ride
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Sheep Round-Up, Iceland




Programmes


• Southern Sheep Round-Up

 

Horses



Type of horses:

Icelandic

Nature of horses:

Powerful, gentle and honest

Height of horses:

c. 13.2hh

Weight limit:

110kg

Tack type:

Icelandic saddles are similar to English saddles but are straighter at the front and more similar to a dressage saddle. They have well padded seats and you tend to ride quite long in them. Stirrups are often wide to accommodate chunky boots. Some horses will wear cruppers to stop the saddles slipping forwards as they can be quite barrel shaped! Bridles are usually simple snaffles or Icelandic curbs and may not have a noseband.

 

Travel Advice



Please ensure you read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before you travel.
 

Ride Description

There is nothing more authentic in Iceland than joining one of the annual Round-Up tours and bringing sheep down from their summer pastures to their winter grazing. Imagine thousands of sheep heading down the mountains, appearing as one large white blanket, before being herded into corrals for sorting. The sheep are allowed to graze the highlands during the summer months in vast herds, but during the harsh winters they are gathered back closer to home and each owner becomes responsible for their own small herd.

The ancient tradition of rounding up the livestock is kept alive in Iceland and you will be working with real farmers and will have a real job to do. You may be pushing the flocks or you may be chasing strays, or blocking paths to prevent them from taking a wrong turn. The farmers will tell you where they need you to be, and will involve you in the entire process. There is a camaraderie amongst everyone involved and you will feel part of the whole experience.

Each round-up happens only once a year, so book early to avoid disappointment as spaces are strictly limited.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

You stay in a three star hotel with beautiful views of Mt Hekla and a lovely hot tub in the garden to relax in after a long day in the saddle. The hotel has a restaurant and bar with fireplace.

Icelandic food has many Nordic and European influences and includes plenty of fresh fish as well as local lamb. Vegetarians and special diets can be accommodated with advance notice, but vegetables in Iceland are either grown in greenhouses or imported as the climate is too harsh for many to grow outside.

Breakfast will be at your hotel each morning and is usually a buffet selection including cold meats/cheeses and bread/toast and fruit.

Lunch will be a picnic in your saddle bag as you are usually out on the hillsides somewhere!

Dinners are taken at your hotel and are to your own account so that you can choose from the menu.

 

Activities

You will have little time for anything other than riding as you are expected to immerse yourself in the activities and make yourself useful.

When not riding there may be hot tubs in which to relax and ease those aching muscles.

If you are lucky then the Northern Lights may show themselves through the night.

These rides are not suitable for non-riders.

 

Further Details

Languages: English

Health requirements: You need to be in good physical health

Age limit: None, but bear in mind you could be mounted for many hours in sometimes harsh weather, so is not ideal for children.

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation as per itinerary, food as per itinerary, riding, transfers

Not included: Flights, travel insurance

 

Travel Information

Flights to Reykjavik are possible with Icelandair, British Airways, Iceland Express and EasyJet. Flights are possible from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Luton, Bristol and Birmingham (although some airports are not offering daily flights).

From Reykjavik airport you should take the FlyBus to your Reykjavik hotel (hotel and transfer not included, but we can book the hotel for you). The FlyBus travels between hotels in the centre and the airport regularly throughout the day and tickets can be bought online or at the airport.

You are collected from your Reykjavik hotel on Day one of each itinerary and returned there at the end of your holiday.

Airport: Reykjavik

 

Programmes


Southern Sheep Round-Up



Join the ancient tradition of sheep round-ups in this stunning part of southern Iceland. If you're lucky the Northern Lights will also dance across the skies.

Day One: Reykjavik - Hjalparfoss - Fosshotel Helka

You will be collected from Reykjavik at 9am. We recommend arriving the day before and spending a night in Reykjavik - this is not included but we will happily book it for you. You should be dressed ready for riding.

You are transferred directly to the farm in the beautiful Uppsveitir area and start your ride from a fascinating Viking Farm Replica which is also one of the locations for the famous Game of Thrones series. You are introduced to the horses and tack and set off riding to the beautiful basalt column framed waterfall Hjalparfoss before meeting with c. 3000 sheep coming down from the mountains. Follow the sheep and help the herders to drive them on country lanes under Mt Hekla and along the glacial river Pjorsa. Leave the sheep at Fossnes Farm and transfer to the Fosshotel Hekla with its cozy country style rooms, restaurant and bar - not forgetting the hob tubs outside where you can hopefully view the Northern Lights!

Please note that your riding guide does not stay in the hotel with you and so you are not hosted in the evenings. Dinner is to your own account

Riding: c. 5-6 hours

Day Two: Sheep Round-Up Skaftholtsrettir

An early start as the herds move at dawn. It is a wonderful sight to ride into the early Autumn morning with the mist lifting from the river and be part of this traditional event. At approx 10am you will have arrived at the sheep paddocks and the annual sorting can begin - each farmer has to find his sheep and sort them into his private pen. Take part in the sorting and follow one farmer with his sheep to his farm. Transfer back to your hotel for dinner and overnight as the first night.

Riding: c. 4-5 hours

Day Three: Reykjarettir Sheep Round-Up - Pjorsa river

After breakfast you take the horses to Reykjarettir, another Sheep Round-Up and ride along the remote banks of River Pjorsa with amazing glacier views before relaxing in a geothermal bathing spring. Stop for a lovely dinner option a country restaurant before returning to your hotel. 

Riding: c. 4-5 hours

Day Four: PHreppholahnjukar - Solheimer - Reykjavik

After breakfast you check out of your hotel return to your horses for a final ride to a secluded valley. Cross the river Stora-Laxa and ride through a wide canyon to the picturesque basalt columns of Hreppholar and then onto Solheimer farm and its charming heritage museum. After lunch you cross the salmon river again and enjoy magnificent views of the canyon before returning to the farm to say farewell to the horses. You are transferred back to Reykjavik with the aim of arriving in the late afternoon. Again we recommend an extra night in the city and we can book this for you if you wish - however, you can depart on an evening flight if you prefer.

Riding c. 4-5 hours



Accommodation: Three nights Hotel Hekla (3 star) with beautiful views of Mt Hekla and a lovely hot tub in the garden to relax after a long day in the saddle. The hotel offers a choice of local dishes and a cozy bar with fireplace.

Accommodation in Reykjavik before/after the riding tour is NOT included.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 4
Ability description: Good intermediate and experienced riders in good physical shape. It's useful if you've previously ridden in Iceland and are already familiar with the horses, tack and gaits.
Type of ride: Round-up
Total riding time: 4 days / 4 riding days (4-6 hours each day)
Departure dates: 2020: 10-13 September
 
Pricing: 2020:

£2184 per person sharing
£182 single supplement

Includes: three nights accommodation, breakfast and lunch, transfers from Reykjavik

Excludes: Flights, transfers from the airport to Reykjavik, travel insurance, accommodation in Reykjavik, evening meals and drinks


Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.