Leaving the farm after 40 years

A couple, who have been farmers in a remote area in the West Fjords for more than 40 years, have decided to quit farming and move to the town Hólmavík. When Hávarður Benediktsson and Sveindís Guðfinnsdóttir leave this fall, they follow in the footsteps of couples at four other farms in the district, who have left in recent years. Right now, only 47 people are registered as residents in the district.

“The main reason is that we’re getting older, and this will do,” Sveindís tells Morgunblaðið. “This is a district of few residents; everything is getting tougher, and the children have long since left. We leave with a heartache, but this is how it is, and perhaps what is to come. The land where the sheep must be herded doesn’t get any smaller,” she explains.

The couple have taken care of the airport in Gjögur for 20 years, to which Eagle Air provides service once a week in summer and twice a week in winter. Sveindís states that life in the wintertime is quite isolated. The road to the area from Bjarnarfjörður fjord is ploughed once prior to January 5, after which no ploughing takes place until March 20. In the summer, the place is a paradise, she states.

Four sheep farms will continue to be operated in the district. The district school will not operate this winter, since only one school-aged child remains. 

The area has frequently been in the news lately, due to plans for an electrical power plant there, in Hvalá river in Ófeigsfjörður fjord.


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