Four Days in Lapland in search of the Northern Lights – what Northern Lights?
February 25, 2014

Hello Angela here, LP volunteer. The Northern Lights promise to be stupendous this year as a result of the many sunspots.  My husband and I booked a short trip in the hope of seeing a magnificent display.  We travelled with a group of about 30 and stayed on the border of Sweden and Finland – formerly Lapland. 

Lots of snow in Lapland
To fill in our days before the excitement of nightfall there were several activities planned.  The first was a walk using snowshoes – quite a tricky operation and very tiring on the thighs.  You have to lift your foot with each step and certainly take care not to tread on the other snowshoe! 

In the evening we went snowmobiling.  After getting suitably suited and booted in thermal gear and with a weighty helmet on my head, we set off.  We travelled through a forest at first on a well worn track, then onto a frozen lake.  The snowmobiles run on a central “caterpillar” track which causes icy ruts, the effect of which caused the snowmobile to buck and leap alarmingly!  I was convinced that all the rocking with the heavy helmet would eventually break my neck!

Beautiful woods and snow in Lapland
However, I survived to take part in the best activity of all – a reindeer sleigh ride.  This was a much more comfortable experience, two of us seated on reindeer hides in a roomy sleigh pulled by one reindeer.  There were seven sleighs in all, each reindeer tied to the one in front and led by the guide in a snowmobile.  We only had to sit back and enjoy the beautiful scenery with only the pad, pad of the big hooves to break the silence. 

 The reindeers were gentle creatures, or so they appeared.  The guide warned us that they were trained but were not pets and not all of them appreciated petting.  Those antlers were huge!  However, our reindeer was very amenable as was the one behind us, which was just as well as he seemed keen to catch us up and occasionally a head and antlers appeared at our shoulder. Just a little disconcerting!

Reindeer in Lapland
The other activity was a husky safari.  We arrived at the camp where 7 team of 6 were yapping loudly, wanting to get started.  We had a brief teach-in, though I was the passenger and only had to sit back and relax, hopefully.  Paul had to stand on the brake until we were ready to go then stand on the runners and use his weight to steer the sled round corners.  It all sounded very easy but in the event the balancing act didn’t seem to work out quite as planned.  The “relaxed” passenger was in fear and trembling that the wretched sled would turn over at every curve!  On the straight bits at least it was a lovely experience, the dogs were absolutely silent once we got going and we travelled through some beautiful countryside.

Angela's husband Paul with sled and dogs
Sadly we never did see the Northern Lights.  Every day (and night) was cloudy.  But we did see some amazing snowy scenery, beautiful trees with big blobs of meringue on their branches or clad overall in a delicate tracery of snow – and how we loved the silence!  We’ll have to try again next year.

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