Saturday, September 03, 2011

Rounding up the sheep

 The time of year has rolled around again when the sheep and horses that have been running wild in the highland pastures all summer are being rounded up and brought down into the lowlands, to be either housed or taken to winter pastures. In the area where I grew up, and indeed in most rural areas, the sheep round-up and horse round-up take place one week apart, usually on a weekend, which enables even townies with day jobs to take a part, even if it's only in assisting with the separation of the big herd into smaller herds belonging to different  farms. The photos below were taken at different times, at the Fossárrétt corral in Skagi. The round-ups there usually take place in September. Since we have a herd of horses, we have a duty to send at least one man with a horse to participate in each round-up.

The herd starts to arrive, on a foggy, blustery afternoon:

More sheep and men on horses come into view:

The groups start to coalesce into one herd. Here they got much better weather:

The sheep fill the corral and the farmers start looking for their marks:

A tired horse gets a well-earned bite to eat:

A boy looks at a sheep's mark. Maybe he's looking for his own summer lamb?

Dragging a reluctant sheep to the farm's corral compartment:

Onlookers sitting on top of the fence around the "almenningur" (commons) - a large area in the middle of the corral where unidentified sheep and sheep that need to be sent to other areas are kept:

An unhappy-looking sheep:

"Are you looking at me?"

A farmer examines a sheep's mark:

This one is feeling cornered:

It used to be the case that you could expect several of the men attending the round-ups to be happily drunk by the time they started dragging the sheep into the pens, but this hardly ever happens any more. This young man, for example, was quite sober, but still having fun:

At some point during the separating people will begin to trickle towards a large corrugated iron shed close by the corral, where the wives of the farmers sell refreshments consisting of coffee or cocoa and home-baked goodies. Many a tired rider has gone there for a caffeine rush and nourishment before the ride home.

Stay tuned for photos from horse round-ups next Saturday.

From my scanned photos

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