Join the farmers in this great autumn adventure. Ride along when they drive the herd, sort the horses and celebrate the successful return of horses and men. The varied terrain on this horse riding holiday includes the highland moors, green valleys just turning into their autumn colours of burning red and yellow, deep blue lakes and rivers and Kolugljúfur gorge where a troll woman resided in the old days.

A short first ride is already scheduled on the arrival day in Hafnarfjörður. This is a good opportunity to get to know the Icelandic horse and prepare for the coming days. From Bjargshóll Farm in the North you follow good riding tracks until you meet the Icelanders who have been gathering horses already for some days. You join them and help driving the herd down to the Víðidalstungurétt corral. When this task has been fulfilled the locals celebrate the successful round-ups with a ball “réttardansleikur” and you are welcome to join in the fun. The next day the horses get sorted. Experience the excitement of horses and men when the horses and foals are selected from the herd and returned to their rightful owners.

Special Offer: 5% discount for all riders that have travelled with us to Iceland before.

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from MD of London on 22/10/2014

Ride Summary

What was your overall impression of the holiday

Unicorn Trails sales staff
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Friendliness     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Speed of response     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Efficiency     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Knowledge     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Other(please specify)     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Riding tour leader
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Horsemanship     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Pacing of Ride     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern for Safety     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Leadership     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Friendliness/availability     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Culture     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Flora/Fauna     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern with Environment     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Language skills     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments

Horses and Tack
Condition of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Condition of Tack     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Performance of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Additional Comments

Meals
Meal Quantity     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Quality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Punctuality     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (X) Fair     (   ) Poor
Accommodation
Camping Equipment     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (X) N/A
Hotels/Lodges/Inns     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hygiene standards     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Miscellaneous
Transfer arrangements     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other office staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other ride staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Weather     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (X) Fair     (   ) Poor
Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
The weather. We had 2 days of snow and 2 days of rain. The packing list needs to prepare people more for this. It says "gloves" but these should not be riding gloves but waterproof/winter gloves. Scarf, multi layers, balaclava, a hat for under the helmet, etc all required due to the bitter wind. Chapstick.
What could we do to improve this ride?
Packing list, see above
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
0
Please explain why you scored it as you did:

Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
    (   ) NO     (   ) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
    (   ) NO     (   ) YES
Any other comments:
This had been a longtime ambition of mine, and it was really good!
I had a food intolerance I forgot to mention in advance. I informed Unicorn with short notice and was really pleased with how well I was catered for.
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a nice time and we have updated our packing list accordingly :)

Due to the early start on Day 1, it is recommended that guests arrive in Reykjavik the day before the round up begins and stay in a hotel in the city. Please see 'Accommodation' for recommended hotels.

Day 1: Wednesday: Reykjavík – Bjargshóll – Gauksmýri
Pick up from your hotel between 07:30 and 08:30. Vehicles have to pick up and drop off all passengers staying at hostels and guesthouses within central Reykjavik at designated bus stops. Further details are available in the Accommodations tab. Please be dressed ready in riding clothes. We drive to the North and meet Eggert with his staff and horses at Bjargshóll Farm. On our way we visit a factory outlet with woollen goods. Our ride takes us alongside the river Miðfjarðará to the ocean and from there underneath Vatnsnesfjall Mountain to Gauksmýri Farm, where we will stay overnight in a cosy country hotel. (25 km)

Day 2: Thursday: Gauksmýri – Dæli
This long and exciting riding day takes us into the friendly countryside of Vestur-Hóp, past a lake and into the beautiful valley Víðidalur. We follow Víðidalsá River to Dæli Holiday Farm, close to Kolugil canyon. This farm is beautifully located in Víðidalur Valley and we will enjoy the hospitality of Sigrún and Víglundur, who have been working with us for many years. The outdoor hot tubs are waiting, as well as a hearty dinner. (35 km)

Day 3: Friday: Dæli - Kolugil – Víðidalstungheiði – Dæli
Today we ascend towards the highland plateau Víðidalstunguheiði and meet the horses coming down from their pastures in the highlands. We enjoy a warm lunch in the mountains, before we join other guests and locals following the farmers driving the herd down from the highland. Before ending our ride at Dæli Farm we stop at Kolugili Farm for refreshments. Following dinner that day, we spend time with the farmers and other guests in Dæli and join in their singing, dancing and celebrating of this great event of the fall. (30 km, 7-8 hours including lunch and coffee breaks)

Day 4: Saturday: Víðidalstungurétt – Bjargshóll – Dæli
Our day starts at the round up place Víðidalstungurétt where horses are sorted out. An auction is held right on the spot and we can join the farmers in their joyful singing, celebrating the return of their horses. In the afternoon we ride to Bjargshóll Farm and return our horses to their meadows, before driving back to Dæli for a hearty dinner. (30 km)

Optional (not included in the tour price):
"Stóðréttardansleikur" dance at Víðihlíð, where everybody relaxes after the excitement of the day and celebrates yet another successful round up.

Day 5: Sunday: Return to the South – Reykjavík
Departure from the North and return to hotel or bus station in Reykjavik. Approx. arrival at 14:00pm. Depending on flight times guests may wish to stay an extra night in Reykjavik.

Single supplements:
Please note that it is not possible to book a single room during the riding tour.

Reading List
We're avid readers here at Unicorn Trails and have selected several books connected to this ride. If you're interested in reading more about the area before you travel, or want to get into the cultural background, here are some suggestions that may inspire you. Click on the links for more information.
Letters From Iceland

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

Clients ride the traditional Icelandic horses (called horses not ponies despite being pony sized!) who have a special gait known as the tölt which is very comfortable and anyone comfortable with English (or McLellan) or Western tack will be able to adapt to sitting to the new gait without any problems – the trail leaders explain how to sit it before the first day’s riding. The guides will explain how to tack up the horses, mount it and how to ride the tölt before setting off. All the guides are English-speaking.

Rider requirements

Riding days can be long so you should be in good physical condition and have a basic knowledge of horsemanship. Hours per day in the saddle ranges from three to ten. The minimum age for this ride is 7 years.

A sense of adventure is important as is an open and positive frame of mind due to the nature of the trip.

Used riding clothes must be disinfected before entry to Iceland. Riding gear (riding trousers, jackets, etc.) needs to be washed (40°C) or dry cleaned. Items which cannot be washed or dry cleaned (riding boots, riding hats) need to be disinfected at least five days prior to arriving in Iceland. The Icelandic Veterinary Authority recommends the broad-spectrum disinfectant Virkon S for disinfection. Used riding gloves, whips, saddles, bridles and other used leather gear may not be brought into the country.
Please understand that these precautions are necessary because there are no contagious animal diseases in Iceland. Horses are not vaccinated and are therefore susceptible to infectious agents from abroad. Please help us to protect Iceland's fragile nature! For further information please take a look at: www.mast.is

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 17 st/242 lb/110 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Accommodation is in simple yet cosy mountain cabins shared by the local farmers participating with you in the Horse Round Up. Three nights are spent in cabins that are situated in their own little area sheltered by low trees / bushes. They all have a table and chairs and bunk beds, but they try to only put 2 people in a 4 man cabin so there is no need to use the top bunks. They are heated and have lighting and power points. Showers are just across the grass (less than 1 minute walk) and towels and sleeping bags are provided. Hot tubs are available on some nights. Please note that it is usual for people to shower before using them. Large breakfasts are traditional (lamb and fish are the staple dinners) though special diets (vegetarian, etc.) can be provided if advance notice is given. Lunches are brought to you each day by the back up vehicles. Luggage will be transported in the kitchen van. Please bring bags rather than hard cover suitcases and pack light because transport space is limited.


Extra accommodation: We recommend that you arrive the day before the ride begins and stay in a hotel in Reykjavik. Some riders may also want to stay an extra night at the end of the ride before flying home. There are many hotels to choose from in Reykjavik, some recommendations are below.



Cabin Hotel - http://hotelcabin.is/en/ 

Brim Hotel (also known as Reykjavik Hotel Centre) - http://www.booking.com/hotel/is/reykjavik-hostel-center.html


As part of an initiative to improve the centre of Reykjavik for locals and travellers, the local authorities will ban all buses to drive within the central part of the City from July 15 2017. Instead, vehicles with group licenses will have to pick up and drop off all passengers staying at hostels and guesthouses within the area at designated bus stops, including airport transfers and tours.



Please take a look at the available bus stops here http://www.busstop.is/ to find the stop closest to your intended accommodation.

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.

General information:

Visa are not required for U.K. or other European nationals. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on travel insurance, passport and visas, health and vaccinations, legal issues and emergency issues. They can be reached on 0207 008 0232/0233 or at www.fco.gov.uk.

The British Embassy in Reykjavik is at Laufásvegur 31, 101 Reykjavík. Postal Address: PO Box 460, 121 Reykjavík. Tel: + (354) 550 5100. Email: britemb@centrum.is.

In the U.K the Embassy of Iceland is at 2A Hans Street, London SW1X 0JE. Telephone: (020) 7259 3999. Email: icemb.london@utn.stjr.is

Climate Summary

Come prepared for all kinds of weather as the day can change very quickly! Summer temperatures usually reach the 20°C+ but can be less than 10°C.

Climate Chart

Health

No special health precautions are required for visits to Iceland, for further details please see your local doctor.

For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org.

Health (ride specific)

No special health precautions are required for visits to Iceland.

Electricity

Voltage is the same as in the UK and most appliances such as battery chargers for videos, hair dryers etc. can be plugged in with appropriate adapters. These are available for purchase at most airports and travel shops.

Film and Camera Equipment

Bring sufficient film, batteries, etc. with you because there are no opportunities to buy these out on the trail.

Packing List

You should be ready for all kinds of weather as the weather can change very quickly. We recommend that the following items are included when preparing for this tour.

• Riding Boots - knee-high, preferably rubber, because of the rivers you cross.
• Warm jacket or overcoat.
• Warm (woollen or fleece) sweater.
• Warm socks and gloves, at lest two pairs, scarf and a cap or hat.
• Warm underwear, long if possible.
• Riding trousers.
• Tracksuit or casual, loose clothes
• A pair of slippers to wear in the accommodation. (Icelanders take off their shoes when entering a house).
• Swim suit, towels and soap
• A small camera to take with you on the ride.
• Band aids and second skin plasters for chaffing.
• Fly net
• Chocolate or glucose sweets for strenuous riding days.
• Sun lotion for face and lips (with high sun factor).
• A sports bra for the ladies usually comes in useful!
• Sunglasses
• Bum bag or similar to carry water, cameras etc.

• Small pillow to sleep on.
• Ear plugs. Some people snore!
• Sleeping bag

You may bring your own riding gear (eg helmet) but it needs to be dry cleaned or disinfected; officially, a written certificate is needed to prove at the airport that this has been done, but it is rarely asked for.

Items provided:
• Saddle bags
• Rain wear (heavy/industrial so best to have your own and use the Íshestar gear only in the worst of weather)
• Safety riding helmet

Luggage will be transported in the kitchen van. Please bring bags rather than hard cover suitcases and pack lightly because transport space is limited.

Programmes

This special event takes place just once a year, in the autumn for 5 days / 4 nights / 4 days riding - 120km. We recommend riders to arrive a day early and stay in a hotel in Reykjavik the night before the ride starts.

Departure Dates

2019: 2 October

Pricing
No single rooms available (on some or all nights). Riders must be prepared to share with someone of the same sex.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20195d/4n4double pp1,545
20195d/4n4Child under 121,159
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20195d/4n4double pp1,709
20195d/4n4Child under 121,285
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20195d/4n4double pp1,989
20195d/4n4Child under 121,495
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20195d/4n4double pp17,895
20195d/4n4Child under 1213,425
Recommended Reading

WH Auden and Louis MacNeice 'Letters from Iceland'; Mark Cowardine 'Iceland Native's and Meeting Places'; David Roberts 'Iceland Land of the Saga's'; Terry Lacy 'Ring of Seasons'.
For a broad selection of equestrian travel books, many previously unavailable visit www.HorseTravelBooks.com - inspiring adventure!

Other Activities

Blue Lagoon, Whale Watching (Reykyavik)

Other Information

Disinfecting of used riding gear: Riding gear (riding boots, riding trousers, jackets, hats, gloves, etc.) needs to be washed (40°C), dry cleaned or disinfected with Virkon S before arriving in Iceland. Saddles, bridles and other leather gear may not be brought into the country.
Please understand that these precautions are necessary because there are no contagious animal diseases (i.e. rabies or foot and mouth diseases) in Iceland and therefore important to protect the animals of the country. Please help us to protect Iceland's fragile nature!
For further information please take a look at: www.mast.is

Other Country Information

Iceland is a volcanic island in the North Atlantic. It is three hours flying time from London and two from Glasgow. Geologically speaking, it is the youngest country in the world. The Icelanders live in a beautiful, but rather fierce natural setting with extremes in the weather, and are continually reminded of the often-harsh natural elements with earthquakes and volcanic eruptions relatively commonplace. Iceland enjoys the midnight sun in summer and extensive darkness in winter, with the northern lights adding a touch of magic on clear winter nights.

In addition to its expansive landscape, it has a rich history and folklore tradition. Iceland was the last country in Europe to be settled, by Vikings and Celts, in the 9th and 10th century AD. The nation converted to Christianity in 1000. From the Middle Ages she was a Norwegian and later a Danish colony. She gained Home Rule in 1904 and then separate sovereign status under the Danish crown in 1918. During WW II, the country was benignly occupied, first by British and then by US forces. Iceland became an independent republic on 17 June 1944.

DISINFECTION: Riding gear (riding boots, riding trousers, jackets, hats, gloves, etc.) needs to be washed (40°C), dry cleaned or disinfected with Virkon S before arriving in Iceland. Saddles, bridles and other leather gear may not be brought into the country.
Please understand that these precautions are necessary because there are no contagious animal diseases (i.e. rabies or foot and mouth diseases) in Iceland and therefore important to protect the animals of the country.

Iceland is on GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram. The dialling code for the country is +354.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Your hotel or closest designated bus stop (central zone) in Rekjavik
Transfer:
2019: Included from your hotel or closest designated bus stop in Rekjavik.
Flight Guide:
London - Reykjavik return from £110. Please see "getting there" for flight information
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