Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

Animals

Amazing photographs of sheep being herded through snow covered no-man’s lands in North Iceland

By Staff

  • Sheep and the arctic sun This stubborn flock of some one hundred ewes from Reistarnes had to be herded back to safety through the snowcovered no-mans land. Photo/Ágústa Ágústsdóttir, Facebook.

The northernmost inhabited farm in Iceland is the sheep farm Reistarnes on Melrakkaslétta peninsula in North East Iceland. There Kristinn B. Steinarsson and his wife Ágústa Ágústsdóttir tend to their flock of 600 sheep. Kristinn is born and raised at the farm, and has run the farm since 1990.

But the life of a farmer, or his sheep, at the edge of the world is not always easy, as the following photographs show. Ágústa published the pictures and story of the December roundup of the flock on the Facebook page “Shepard´s friends”.  

Winter sheepherding Melrakkaslétta

The road Finding the road when it's covered with several feet of snow can be tricky. Photo/Ágústa Ágústsdóttir, Facebook

The back story is that on 3 December Ágústa and her husband had to herd a group of ewes who stubbornly leave the farm each fall, after having been herded into home fields. The ewes move into the land of Oddsstaðir, an old nearby farm. Most of the flock at Reistarnes is usually kept outside during the winter, as it snows relatively little in the region. The ewes are fed outside, but they can also graze seaweed on the beach. Only the yearlings are kept inside during the winter.  

Winter sheepherding Melrakkaslétta
Crossing a footbridge After the sheep were located they had to be herded back to the road. Photo/Ágústa Ágústsdóttir, Facebook

This year, however, winter came unseasonably early with unusually heavy snows. Ágústa says this year´s snowfall already exceeds the total combined accumulation over the entire winter in recent years. As a consequence the sheep who had wandered off to Oddstaðir had to be brought back to safety.  

Winter sheepherding Melrakkaslétta

Two of the shepherds Helgi in Hjarðarás and Kristinn in Reistarnes Photo/Ágústa Ágústsdóttir, Facebook

Ágústa and the farmers from nearby farms teamed up to find and bring the sheep back. Finding the sheep and herding them back took a whole day, from dawn to dusk, but Ágústa says on Facebook that everything went according to plan and all the sheep were escorted to the safety of the home field. Some, however, were pretty tired toward the end of the trip and had to be herded onto the truck and driven the last leg of the journey.  

Winter sheepherding Melrakkaslétta
The flock The stubborn ewes here herded together Photo/Ágústa Ágústsdóttir, Facebook
 
Winter sheepherding Melrakkaslétta

On their way home The sheep were then herded home to Reistarnes Photo/Ágústa Ágústsdóttir, Facebook

 
Winter sheepherding Melrakkaslétta

Winter sheepherding The sheepdogs did their part Photo/Ágústa Ágústsdóttir, Facebook

Winter sheepherding Melrakkaslétta

Winter wonderland Heading into the snowcoverered plains of Melrakkaslétta. Photo/Ágústa Ágústsdóttir, Facebook

Winter sheepherding Melrakkaslétta
Woolen coats come in handy The sheep at Reistarnes usually spend the winter outdoors, but this year winter came unusually early, with heavy snows and frost. Photo/Ágústa Ágústsdóttir, Facebook
Winter sheepherding Melrakkaslétta

The trip home Toward the end of the journey some of the ewes were pretty tired, so they were herded onto the wagons and driven the last leg of the journey. Photo/Ágústa Ágústsdóttir, Facebook

Winter sheepherding Melrakkaslétta
Heading home The headstrong ewes will hopefully spend the rest of winter in the home fields. Photo/Ágústa Ágústsdóttir, Facebook

 

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