Löngufjörur, the Long Beach

Right on the choicest part of the choicest riding ground in Iceland, Löngufjörur (Long Beach), is Skógarness, my friend Trausti’s farm. Okay, with so many great places to ride in Iceland, I would not like to have to make a choice. But this is not mine to make. As you will see, it has already been chosen by popular acclaim. You will see so many Icelanders on horseback here that think of it as the crossroads of Iceland even though it is in the middle of nowhere and under water except at low tide!

 

The blue star shows the farm, Skógarness, on the south shore of the Snæfellsness peninsula.   Löngufjörur, Long Beach, has ideal footing for tölting because at low tide the sand is flat and hard-packed and goes on for kilometers.  It would take a couple of days to ride the length of it.

The beach is unusual for Iceland because it is of a very fine white sand rather than the common black volcanic pumice.

A 2 hour drive from Reykjavik, Löngufjörur has become a very popular weekend ride for both Icelanders and tourists.  Horses for rent, guides, and accommodations of all levels are in the area yet it is very unspoiled and not at all “touristy”.

On the weekend when this was filmed, over 150 riders rode by or stopped off at Skógarness.

Nancy Marie Brown described the area in her book, A Good Horse Has No Color, when she lived across the bay from Skógarness.

We arrive at Skógarnes and are greeted by our friend, Trausti, who has stayed with us in upstate New York and has promised us a ride on Long Beach from his farm.

 

GONE RIDING!

No more video until I get back from a great ride on the beach!

It was a wonderful ride, just as I had expected.  Guiding my horse into some shallow tidal pools so we could splash around at tölt made me feel like a kid all over again, reminding me of splashing in the tidal flats in Plymouth, Mass., where I was born.  I’ve come a long way, or maybe I haven’t…

While we were hanging out we saw others heading for their own fun.

When we sat down for dinner, we had a very common interruption!

The next morning, Viðar, Trausti’s nephew, and I went out to look at where we had been riding.

At 73, and a few years after open heart surgery, Trausti is still a guide for groups who come to ride on “his” beach and keep their horses and tack at his farm overnight.

The answer to a puzzle:

What little wood there is in Iceland is, for the most part, imported at considerable expense.  In the Reykjjavik area, for example, just about all the fencing for horses is made with steel posts.

But from time to time, I have seen wooden fence posts in some farms.  Here at Skógarnes, for example, Trausti had lots of wooden fence posts.  I didn’t bother to ask where he got the wood or how much it costs.

But once I noticed this saw that Trausti had clearly built himself — and, as you can see, it had a huge blade for serious cutting — I just had to ask him.

See if you can figure out:  Where did all this wood come from?