Ready for 50-Day Horseback Riding Adventure

Bjarni Páll Vilhjálmsson.

Bjarni Páll Vilhjálmsson. Photo/Einar Sæmundsen

Vala Hafstað

Bjarni Páll Vilhjálmsson, who runs  an equestrian tourism business at Saltvík farm, near Húsavík, North Iceland,  is planning to offer a 50-day tour on horseback around Iceland next summer.

“This was sparked by my yearning for adventure and new challenges,” he states in an interview with Morgunblaðið journalist Kristín Heiða Kristinsdóttir. “Four years ago, I, along with a group of wonderful people, rode on horseback around Vatnajökull glacier. It may have been one of the longest organized horseback riding tours ever taken with a group of foreign tourists [in Iceland] – a 1,000-km ride in 24 days.”

The planned route.

The planned route. Map/mbl.is

“In the spring, I decided to plan this new mega horseback riding tour – not least to improve the atmosphere and show a sign of life and optimism in all the haze surrounding the travel industry at that time.”

The 1,500-km-long (930 mi) tour will take 50 days to complete, requiring a great deal of planning. There will be between 60 and 70 selected and specially trained horses.

“This Icelandic horse we use for traveling,” Bjarni continues, “is in fact a special type when in top form: 10-12 years old, having crisscrossed the highlands, gotten familiar with all sorts of rough terrain, weather, and conditions. Such horses need to be steady, strong, reliable and courageous in a diverse landscape, and that is something that mainly comes with the experience and age of the horses.”

Photo/Björn Bússi

The journey will be divided into six legs, and participants will have the option of purchasing a single leg.

“We assume there will be mostly new people taking part in each segment of the journey – 12 to 15 people at once in each of them,” Bjarni explains. Altogether, about 100 riders will take part in the adventure, including guides.”

Photo/Einar Sæmundsen.

The pace will be rather relaxed - the first stretch from Saltvík over the highlands via Sprengisandur taking nine days. The longest leg will be through the West Fjords – 12 days. That one already sold out.

Bjarni emphasizes being able to inform the travelers about the areas they cover, by seeking out historically important routes from the Viking Age, as well as important travel routes throughout the ages.

“I enjoy telling stories which may have occurred in the areas we cross, ” he states . That’s my way of bringing the surroundings to life.”

For more information, check out Saltvík’s website .

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