On this unique tour we join the farmers in South Iceland as they gather thousands of sheep from the mountains.
Duration: 7 days
Group maximum: 8 persons
Difficulty: Advanced riders
Riding time: 6 days
Note: Some walking will be involved.
Accomodation: Sleeping bag accommodation (bring your own!) in simple mountain cabins, shared by the local farmers participating with you in rounding up the sheep.
Included: Transfer to the farm and back to Reykjavík. 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 in advance. All riders make their own packed lunch from the breakfast table. Rain wear, saddle bag and riding helmet.
Excluded: Individual travel insurance is not included in the tour price. We encourage clients to obtain relevant travel insurance before visiting Iceland. Flights to and from Iceland are not included.
Bring with you: Warm clothes, sturdy shoes.
We gather sheep in Landmannaafréttur, the grazing grounds close to the famous Landmannalaugar area. Yellow, reddish and greenish rhyolite mountains give the scenery a magical touch and Mount Hekla is dominates the landscape.
We will gather sheep from the area covered with the black sand and ashes which were sent into the sky by the eruptions of this great volcano throughout the centuries.
Local farmers and their ancestors have been gathering sheep in this area for centuries. Learn from them how to manage the flock and to drive the sheep down steep hillsides, across rivers and out of sheltered valleys to their resting place for the night, only to go out again the next day to gather more sheep.
One cannot get any closer to the heart and soul of the true Icelanders – the farmers.
All participants join in with an annual tradition and this is not a customized riding tour. Therefore the ability to keep an open mind, good physical health and the ability to work hand in hand with others is required. Expect to be treated as one of the crowd, required to fulfill your duty every day and enjoy the camaraderie of all those participating in this great adventure of the fall.
Day by Day itinerary
Friday: Transfer to Landmannahellir – Landmannalaugar (3 – 4 hrs.)
We will pick you up at your Reykjavik accommodation between 9 and 10 in the morning. We then travel to Landmannahellir where we will meet the horses and our fellow riders. We then ride into the famous Landmannalaugar Area. Landmannalaugar is a natural gem in the highlands of Iceland with a very stunning landscape. Landmannalaugar area has a natural geothermal hot pool, colorful mountains, and black lava field. This day is a shorter riding way, which allows us plenty of time to get acquainted with the terrain and to learn about the journey ahead. We spend the night in Landmannalaugar.
Saturday: Jökulgilid – Landmannalaugar (8 – 9 hrs.)
Today's destination is Jokulgilid. Jokulgilid is a long and shallow valley with many color and rock formations. The valley is surrounded by mountains and glaciers. The area is mostly barren, but it has grass coverings here and there. The grass attracts sheep who seek into this remote area far away from any human contact. A glacier fed river makes it hard to access this valley during the summertime, so this time of year is the only time we can search for sheep that have been grazing there all summer.
Sunday: Landmannalaugar – Landmannahellir (8 hrs.)
Today we will explore the area between Landmannalaugar and Landmannahellir. Even though these two places are not too far apart, the area is covered with lava fields, craters, and lakes, so we can find sheep all over. Because of this, it is important to keep your place in the human chain to make sure that no sheep stays behind. We will spend another night in Landmannalaugar.
Monday: Landmannahellir and surroundings (8 hrs.)
We start the day early in the morning when we leave Landmannalaguar. We pack our belongings into a transport vehicle and we ride back to Landmannahellir, driving our spare horses along in a free running herd. We will spend today exploring the surroundings of Landmannahellir, which has a long tradition as a night resting place for those gathering sheep. Originally there were two caves that were used as shelters for both horses and men.
Tuesday: Mt. Hekla volcano (10 hrs.)
Today we explore the area around Mt. Hekla Volcano. Mt. Hekla is an active volcano that has erupted regularly, spewing lava, pumice, and ash into the sky. Sheep can be found in sheltered valleys, and we need to make sure that they all find their way home. Some of us will stay in the wilderness looking for sheep while others drive the flock to Mt. Valahnjukar. We spend the night in Landmannahellir.
Wednesday: Afangagil – Galtalaekur Farm (8 hrs.)
Today we travel to Afangagil. The round pen where the sheep will be sorted in tomorrow is in Afangagil. On our way to this are, we make sure there are no stray sheep left behind. We spend our last night at Galtalaekur Farm, underneath the towering Mt. Hekla Volcano.
Thursday: Day of the round-up
Today is the last and most celebrated day of the round-up. At noon we start the sorting of the sheep, and it lasts until every single sheep has returned to its owner. We participate in sorting the sheep, pass the falsk around, and join in the singing and celebrating after a successful ride in the mountains. Once the sorting is finished, we head back to Reykjavik where this great tour will come to an end. You will be dropped off at your accomodation at approximately 18:00.