Iceland Mag

3 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


British billionaire buys vast farm in the highlands. Intends to do “absolutely nothing” with it

By Staff

  • Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum At an elevation of 400 m (1,300 ft) above sealevel the highlands farm of Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum is one of two highest altitude farms in Iceland. Photo/Höfði realtors.

The British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe has purchased the farms Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum and Grímstunga in North East Iceland. The farm, which includes large stretches of the central highlands, has been for sale for several years. The selling price is confidential, but the asking price for the farm had been one billion ISK (8.78 million USD/8.46 million EUR). 

Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum
Heathlands and Herðubreið mountain A view worth paying for. Photo/Höfði fasteignasala

Grímsstaðir is one of the largest farms in Iceland, covering over 300 square km (118 sq miles).

Read more: British billionaire buys land and rights to valuable salmon fishing rivers in Vopnafjörður fjord

Ratcliffe, who recently purchased three farms in Vopnafjörður fjord, does not make any changes to the current utilization of the land, Jóhann Friðgeir Valdimarsson, the realtor who handled the transaction told the local news site Vísir. Several people live on the land which is also utilized by local farmers. Grímstunga is also used by firms in the tourism industry. “He is planning on doing absolutely nothing. Everyone living on the land will be allowed to continue to live there, and keep farming the land,” Jóhann Friðgeir told Vísir.

The real-estate listing for Grímsstaðir is still up, featuring photographs showing the amazing beauty of this vast highland farm. 

Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum
Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum Headwaters of the best salmon fishing rivers in N.E. Iceland. Photo/Höfði fasteignasala

According to a statement from Ratcliffe the goal of the purchase is to protect the origins and headwaters of several important salmon fishing rivers in North East Iceland.

In 2011 a controversial Chinese businessman, Huang Nubo, tried to purchase the land in question, but was stopped by the Icelandic authorities. Nubo, who had ties to the Chinese government, told local media that he was planning on building a hotel and a golf course at the land. Many locals found the plans unconvincing and amusing, as the weather conditions at Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum made it unlikely that a usable golf course could ever be built and maintained. Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum holds the low temperature record for a weather station in Iceland: -38°C (-36.4°F). 

Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum
A vast farm The land belonging to Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum Photo/Höfði fasteignasala


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