Nine days of gathering sheep starts today

Guðmundur Árnason on his horse with three horses ready.

Guðmundur Árnason on his horse with three horses ready. Photo/Ólafur Jónsson

Now when fall is upon us the round up of sheep is being prepared all over the country. Few areas in Iceland need longer time to gether their sheep than the farmers in Gnúpverjaafréttur, but the area they need to cover goes all the way from Þjórsárdalur to Hofsjökull. This can take up to nine days, since this is the longest route for sheep gathering in the country.

Guðmundur Árnason is the king of the mountains, a farmer from Þjórsárholt. He says he is hopeful that the weather forecast will hold and is in great spirits for the starting the gathering of the sheep. He says the farmers are well prepared for the job and they will get cooked food in different areas of the route.

"I have great horses and everything is looking good,"  Árnason says to

The roundup is a great festive day

Around 1600 sheep and lambs were taken to the mountains this summer, but now the group gathering will divide into three groups. Seven people are leaving tomorrow at 2 PM from Fossnes in Gnúpverjahreppur and the latter two groups will leave on Saturday and Sunday.

The groups are staying overnight in four cabin on the way, in Hólaskógur, Gljúfurleit, Bjarnalækjarbotnar and in Tjarnarver.

The plan is that the group will bring the sheep back on Friday 8th of September and that the roundup will be on Saturday the 9th of September. The roundup day is a big festive day in the country like is has been forever.

Roundup in Flóamannaafrétt.

Roundup in Flóamannaafrétt. Árni Sæberg

Thankfully not a lot of mishaps

Even though the gathering route is long and time consuming it has not been a problem getting people to participate, because the spirit and camaderie in the gathering is well known, especially if the weather is decent, he says.

He admits, however, that if it is raining and there are strong winds, the fun factor is somewhat diminished, but adds that the gathering usually go really well and there have been few mishaps in recent years. "There is always something, but thankfully not a lot."

More old school than into new gadgets like drones

When Árnason is asked whether modern gadgets are used to gather the sheep, like using drones to find the sheep, he says they don't use that a lot. They like doing this old school and go riding on horses and some use fourwheel bikes.

"It might be a good idea to use drones when looking for the last sheep, but at the outset when you know where there is a group of sheep, we need to go and get them anyway," he says.




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