Jeremy Ellwood visits Siglufjordur in Iceland to play golf and find out more about the town's tale of regeneration and a health supplement called Benecta
There’s often little to commend being a keen 53-year-old golfer as the aches and niggles become more frequent. But sometimes, just sometimes, it plays to your advantage. Like when your editor needs someone from just such a demographic to head up to northern Iceland to find out more about a new natural health supplement called Benecta (www.benecta.co.uk), which seeks to “alleviate everyday symptoms often associated with ‘just getting older’ such as stiffness, aches and lethargy”.
The fact that I’d never been to Iceland before merely added to the appeal, so I needed little persuading to embark on an adventure to Siglufjordur, Iceland’s northernmost town just 24 miles south of the Arctic Circle, to find out more.
And an adventure it was too, with the three-hour flight to Reykjavik followed by a short internal flight to Akureyri then an hour’s transfer north to Siglufjordur via the most spectacular scenery.
It wasn’t long before we were pulling up outside the Siglo Hotel, which those who watched the dark Icelandic drama ‘Trapped’ will recognise from its BBC run last year. This fine hotel by the marina is part of the tale of regeneration in a town that once thrived on the herring fishing industry, before languishing in the wilderness when the herring disappeared almost overnight in 1968 due to overfishing.
It’s only in recent years that the town has begun to thrive once more, this time with tourism as the lead industry, and it’s easy to see the attraction of Siglufjordur too, with the town enveloped in clean fresh air and surrounded by fjords or mountains on all sides.
One man who has played a key role in this regeneration is Robert Gudfinnson, the founder of Benecta, whose Genis hf premises stand proudly in town. We went for a good look around to find out more about this health supplement based on short-chain chitosan extracted from crustaceans.
Benecta’s strapline is ‘Defy your Age’ and anecdotal evidence suggests it has the most noticeable effect on older people who want to continue to live an active lifestyle, Golfers are included in the brand’s list of potential age-defying beneficiaries, and golf is another key part of the regeneration story in Siglufjordur, for although the town already had a nine-hole course of sorts, Gudfinnson has commissioned a brand new nine set in a stunning valley.
We went for a good look round this stunning layout set to open next spring, and were wowed not only by the setting but also the signature 7th with its large island green. We were supposed to be playing golf elsewhere, but next thing we knew, Gudfinnson had hastily arranged for flags to be put in and for us to become the first people ever to play the new, not-yet-open Siglo golf course .
Among the standout holes were the drivable par-4 3rd, and the long, snaking 4th that hugs a free-flowing river all the way to its tucked-away green. But the 6th and 7th are the stars visually – two short, but very different par 3s. The 6th plays slightly uphill to a green encircled by trees, while the 7th plays downhill to a green encircled by water and fronted by huge rocks.
It would have been remiss to come all this way and not try your hand at fishing or gazing out towards the Arctic Circle, and we managed to squeeze both in. Cod fishing, I decided, was not for me despite some success, but looking out towards the Arctic Circle in the early hours in this land of the Midnight Sun I would recommend to anyone.
As we left for home, I was handed a supply of Benecta, which I’ve been taking for the best part of two months now, as have a number of other Golf Monthly-enlisted testers. In the coming months we’ll be getting their, and my, updates to see what effects this natural health supplement is having. I, like them no doubt, certainly wouldn’t mind defying my age.
* Benecta can be taken by most people, but is not recommended for under-18s, those who are pregnant – or likely to become pregnant – or those with an allergy to shellfish. As it is made from natural ingredients, Benecta can be taken alongside any other medication or food supplements.
* Please note gelatin capsules are used for Benecta. However, as always with supplements, if you have any concerns about taking Benecta alongside your medication, please consult your doctor. Benecta can be bought only online from benecta.co.uk