Geysers, volcanos and tolting in the land of fire and ice
Next ride dates: August 2018 - dates TBA
The Viking Challengers return! Welcome back to the following 12 riders who have returned from Iceland after completing the BHS Challenge ride for BHS Welfare: Julia Brock, Amy Bumford, Carol Grainger, John Illingworth, Ann and Brian Irwin, Francesca Lawrence, Maria Lewis, Sally Madgwick, Hannah Mulligan, Katarina Spiers and Ellie Street. Well done and thank you to the Challenger Riders and their sponsors for collectively raising £8,500 for BHS Welfare.
Sally Madgwick commented ‘The Icelandic horses were truly amazing and this and some of the landscapes we rode through will be an abiding memory, as of course will the thoroughly nice bunch of people I was with – both fellow riders and staff’.
It is no surprise that The Viking Challenge is one of our most popular rides. Challengers experience not only a new country, but a new pace: the Icelandic horses’ unique gait, the tolt. With scenery including black sands, lava fields and volcanoes, the trip is like nothing you will have experienced before. The stunning surroundings and amazing horses provide an amazing reward for the dedicated fundraising leading up to the trip.
What is The Viking Challenge?
Riders will be involved in herding up to 100 Icelandic horses, which is an amazing sight. The varied terrain means you never have a chance to get bored and there is always something new to see. One previous rider described The Viking Challenge as having "amazing scenery, fabulous horses and overall a challenging, unforgettable experience." So you don’t just have to take our word for it!
Which horses will I ride?
The hardy Icelandic horses carry you through spectacular scenery going at their own speedy pace. The tolt is a four beat gait without a moment of suspension so they always have one or two feet on the ground. It is a fast pace and when pushed can be as fast as a gallop! However, it is also very comfortable, and has be described as like sitting in an armchair by some riders.
What will I do on the Challenge?
This brief itinerary should give you a rough guide of what to expect but for various reasons some parts may be subject to last minute changes.
Day one involves travelling from London to Reykjavik and then on to Eyvindarmuli Farm, situated in beautiful surroundings in the Fljotshlio countryside, where you dine and stay overnight.
After breakfast you prepare your lunch and meet your horses. Then you begin your journey to the Einhyrningur Mountain Cabin, riding alongside the Markarfljót River. You spend the night at the cabin, enjoying the spectacular views of the Eyjafjallajökull Glacier and Thórsmörk Nature Park.
Day three takes you over the awesome rivers Markarfljót and Kaldaklofskvísl, riding through scenic countryside until you reach your overnight accommodation at Hvanngil mountain cabin. Here you can enjoy the luxury of hot showers!
On day four you ride 40km, passing Lake Álftavatn and the Laufafell Mountain with the terrain changing to black sand and deserts. You stay two nights at the Landmannahellir mountain cabin that also has shower facilities. After an early dinner there is time to relax in the famous Landmannalaugar area with its hot pool, surrounded by colourful mountains and black lava fields.
Day five sees you move north of Mt. Helka volcano and stay in Rjúpnavellir Guesthouse which is located in beautiful surroundings in the shadow of the volcano.
Day six is the last and longest day of riding covering some 45km of fertile farmland, crossing the Ytri-Rangá and Eystri-Rangá rivers. You follow the famous Hekla Trail which is perfect for the Icelandic horses’ signature pace, the tolt. Farm Foss is the location for your last night’s stay and your well-earned dinner.
Reykjavik is the last place on your trip. Here you will have a free day to explore the city or get involved in optional tours such as whale watching.
Day eight, the last day of the Challenge, sees you travel to the airport for the flight back home to London.
How much does it cost?
All our Challenge Rides require a registration fee. This £300 fee is needed to secure your place on the trip and is non-refundable if for any reason you are unable to participate. Challengers are encouraged to fundraise to pay for their trip. The minimum sponsorship level is £2,400 and we need to receive these funds eight weeks before you depart. This money includes all tour costs and a donation to The British Horse Society; however, it doesn’t cover airport tax (approximately £160), travel insurance, optional tours and spending money.
Now you’ve read about the Viking challenge we’re sure you’ll want to know how to raise the money to get there. We’ve put together a list of fundraising tips to help you on your way.
If you're chomping at the bit for an exciting and life-changing experience, simply complete the application form and email or post it to firstname.lastname@example.org.