Funnily enough, this is not a time when many of our clients choose to travel. Here in the UK and elsewhere, it’s hard to believe that somewhere can still be covered in deep snow during the last few weeks of March and into April but there are some compelling reasons for holidaying when I do.
Firstly: The best snow of the winter
March brings the best and deepest snow of the winter. It has been falling since as early as September or October and lies deep on the ground making it perfect for winter activities.
Secondly: Warmer temperatures
The temperatures are generally warmer. Last year I travelled to Luosto and Nellim in late March and during the day, the mercury hovered around the 0°C mark and fell to around -15° when we were out successfully hunting down the Aurora Borealis.
Now I know that might sound pretty darn chilly but up there in Lapland, it’s a far drier cold with far less wind chill factor than those icy winds that cut through you like a knife here at home. During the day, I find it’s too hot to wear the thermal clothing provided during the activities (with the exception of snowmobiling) and several well thought out layers comfortably suffice.
Thirdly: Less cloud cover
Just as the temperatures improve in March, so does the weather as a whole. There is nothing to compare with the stunning majesty of a vast snow-covered frozen lake stretching endlessly away to the horizon beneath a cloudless ice-blue sky. It is nothing short of heavenly.
Of course, there’s a huge significance to reduced cloud cover because it is not a full moon that a Northern Lights hunter fears but dense cloud. I’ve seen the Aurora Borealis in every month from September to April but I’ve always been most successful in March and I attribute this solely to there being less cloud than in other winter months.
Fourthly: Longer daylight hours
I love the blue light that occurs during the deepest winter months in Lapland but by the time March comes around, the days are lengthening by seven or eight minutes per day. On 31 March 2014 at Nellim, Finnish Lapland, the sun will rise at 06.36 am and set at 20.22pm. That’s 13 hours and 46 minutes during which the sun is above the horizon, almost an hour longer than London.
But isn’t this a double edged sword? Surely if it’s that bright, there’s less chance of seeing the Northern Lights because you need darkness to see the Aurora Borealis don’t you?
Yes, you do but it just means you go out searching a bit later. Remember that the lights are generally at their strongest between 10pm and 1am so you are not missing out at all. In fact, it’s often said that the lights are particularly frequent and strong around the Spring Equinox (21 March).
So, that’s why I travel to Lapland for my holiday every March, quite simply, it is a magical time of year up in the North as everything starts to come back to life after a long harsh winter. Try it for yourself and ask the locals which time of year they prefer, I can guarantee that most of them will agree with me.