Sheep Round Up Melrakkaslétta
A sheep roundup tour in the very North East of Iceland. This part of Iceland is inhabited by only a few people, most of them living in little fishing villages along the coast and on farms.
- September: 9 - 13
Roundup Tour in the very Northeast of Iceland
Íslandshestar is proud to present a roundup tour in the very North East of Iceland. This part of Iceland is inhabited by only a few people, most of them living in little fishing villages along the coast and on farms. There is a lot of diversity on this tour starting with beautiful mountain views from the wide Öxarfjörður Fjord. The Peninsula of Melrakkaslétta, which stretches almost to the Arctic Circle, is a paradise for birdwatchers and people with geological interest. Here we are right on top of the Mid Atlantic Ridge where the North-American and Eurasian plates drift apart.
On this special tour we join the farmers in north Iceland as they round up thousands of sheep from the mountains. We gather the sheep from Núpasveitafréttur and Melrakkaslétta peninsula and drive them into Katastaða communal sheepfold so the farmers can sort out their flock and take them to their farms.
Local farmers have been rounding up sheep in this area for centuries. Learn from them how to manage the flock, drive sheep down hillsides, across rivers and out of sheltered valleys to their resting place for the night, only to head off again the next day to round up more.
Being amongst the farming community and lending a helping hand in this age-old tradition of the autumn round-up is as close as you can get to the heart and soul of this nation. As
As participants, you are joining an annual tradition and not a customized riding tour. Therefore an open mind, good physical health and the ability to work as a team are essential. Expect to be treated as one of the crowd, be prepared to pull your weight each day and enjoy the camaraderie of all those participating.
Hosts for this tour are Halldór and Elín with their family from Bjarnastaðir Farm, known to many Icelanders for their excellent breeding of horses. Halldór is a respected member of his community and among other things, he is a “mountain king” when the time calls for gathering up the sheep in autumn.
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 the 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 supplier” 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.
- Flight to and from Iceland is not included.
- Please bring your own sleeping bag.
Thursday: Reykjavík – Húsavík – Ásbyrgi Canyon – Dettifoss Waterfall – Bjarnastaðir
Pick up between 07:00 – 07:30 from your accommodation. Morning flight from Reykjavik Airport to Húsavík. Bus transfer to Bjarnastaðir Farm, where we meet up with the guides and horses and have a late lunch. On the way we will stop at Dettifoss, Europe’s largest waterfall and Ásbyrgi National Park. Ásbyrgi is one of the wonders of nature, a wide, horseshoe-shaped canyon with sheer cliff faces up to 100 m high. According to legend, Sleipnir, the Norse god Odin’s eight-legged horse, put one of his hooves down as the god rode by. After a short introduction to the horses we set out on a 2 -3 hours ride through Kerlingaskógur´s low bushy area and enjoy great views over the Fjord Öxarfjörður and the famous Lake Skjálftavatn which suddenly appeared over night after a strong earthquake 28 years ago, when the land had been lowered by 4 meters overnight. Overnight at Bjarnastaðir. (Approx. 30km)
Friday: Rounding up the sheep in Núpasveit
We start early and each rider will join a local farmer and his dog to be his (her) mentor and guide during the tour. This area is rich with vegetation, green valleys and small lakes and we continue until late afternoon, leave horses and sheep at a remote old hut and return back to the farm for a hearty dinner and a good night’s sleep. (Approx. 35 km)
Saturday: Rounding up the sheep on Melrakkaslétta
The Peninsula of Melrakkaslétta, which stretches almost to the Arctic Circle, is a paradise for birdwatchers and people with geological interest. Here we are right on top of the Mid Atlantic Ridge where the North-American and Eurasian plates drift apart. The vegetation is ideal for the sheep and the local farmers are very proud of their stock. We meet up with our horses and continue driving the sheep down to Katastaðarétt communal fold, where they are kept for the night together with the horses. Overnight at Bjarnastaðir. (Approx. 30 km)
Sunday: Day of the round-up
This is the final and well celebrated day of the round-up. In the morning the sorting of the sheep starts and lasts until each sheep has been returned to its owners. Participate in sorting the sheep, “pass the flask around” and join in the singing and celebrating after a successful ride into the mountains. Once the sorting is finished we join the farmers from Daðastaðir Farm and Presthólar Farm and help them drive the sheep home. Overnight and a farewell dinner at Bjarnastaðir. (Approx. 35 km)
Monday: Bjarnastaðir – Húsavík – Reykjavík
We say good bye to horses and staff and before we drive to Húsavík airport to catch the flight to Reykjavik in the morning.
– We reserve the right to alter the itinerary if necessary –
- A flight to Húsavík from Reykjavík and bus drive to the farm.
- During the ride full board is provided. Our menu consists of a large breakfast and traditional Icelandic meals (fish or lamb). Vegetarian meals are available if requested when booking. All riders make their own packed lunch from the breakfast table.
- Alcoholic beverages are not included in the tour price and are hard to get in the highlands. They can be bought at a reasonable price in the Duty-Free Store at Keflavik Airport upon arrival.
- Rainwear, water bottle, saddle bag, riding helmet.
Bjarnastaðir Farm, home of Halldór Olgeirsson and Elín Maríusdóttir is situated in the low bushy area of Kerlingaskógur, close to the glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum and Dettifoss Waterfall. You will enjoy a great view over the Fjord Öxarfjörður and the famous Lake Skjálftavatn which suddenly appeared overnight after a strong earthquake 28 years ago. Halldór and Elín, breeders of both horses and sheep will welcome you with open arms and their warmth and hospitality are indeed second to none.
- Number of beds: 18
- Outdoor jacuzzi: Yes
- Number of showers: 2
- GSM connection: Yes
- WiFi: No
Here you can book your Flybus ticket to and from Reykjavík. The Flybus departs from Keflavík airport 35-40 minutes after each arrival. Busses are located right outside the terminal building. Book my ticket.
Pick up: Between 7:00 – 7:30 from your Hotel
Please dress already in Riding Clothes
Please have your ID ready for the flight
Terms & conditions:
Íslandshestar request a confirmation payment upon booking of minimum 30% of the tour price. When the confirmation payment is received the seat is secure. The remaining balance is due 6 weeks before the tour departs. If you book the tour through the website the full amount is requested.
Children’s under 12 years receive 25% discount on our multi-day tours.
Íslandshestar reserves the right to alter routes, itineraries or timetables without prior notice, should the necessity arise. No liability is accepted for loss or expenses due to delays or changes of arrival or departures of flights or other services, injury, sickness, accident, strikes, damage, negligence, weather, wars or other causes outside the control of Íslandshestar. All such losses and expenses are the personal liability of the traveler. The estimated duration of tours as indicated by km or timing can change according to road or weather conditions.
For more information please see also our Frequent Asked Questions and/or contact us at [email protected]