Our Northern Lights Blog
Tell us about your Northern Lights experiences.
I’ve never experienced anything quite as extraordinary as the Northern Lights. There is sometimes a sense beforehand that they’ve been talked up so much that in reality they are never quite going to be able to live up to expectations. I was one of those who held this slightly cynical view but I really couldn't have been more wrong. In whatever capacity the Northern Lights are out it’s a magical experience. Whether it’s as a tiny green smudge in the sky only dimly seen over the street lights, to the 4am Aurora wakeup call that had me sprinting outside in a duvet and slippers to the sight of a red and green light corona taking up the whole sky.
The essence of the article was as follows:
“One strange side effect of the equinox is a dramatically increased likelihood of auroras………….
NASA data shows that geomagnetic disturbances are twice as likely to occur around the equinoxes (March-April), (September-October) than around the solstices. Why? The answer is likely the same reason for the season: axial tilt."
(Image taken 17/03/16 by Antti Pietikainen)
This winter Katrina Seator has been working as our representative in Finland, looking after our Aurora Zone clients who were staying in Harriniva and Torassieppi. As this season draws to a close we asked Katrina to tell us about some of her favourite experiences of the season and for any top tips for our future travellers.
Dog Sledding and the Northern Lights in Greenland
As Product and Operations Manager here at the Aurora Zone, I have been a regular visitor to the more northerly and remote corners of Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway for many years. At first, the thought of travelling to places that lie north of the Arctic Circle was somewhat daunting but with growing experience it is something with which I have grown very comfortable and I occasionally found myself digging around for evermore remote places to visit.
Three Alternatives to the IceHotel
“a heady mix of sublime beauty and exquisite disappointment.”
If you watched Alexander Armstrong’s Land of the Midnight Sun on ITV this week you’ll have doubtless been awestruck by the sheer beauty of the IceHotel in Sweden’s Jukkasjärvi. Armstrong was rightly smitten with the IceHotel’s breathtaking interior areas and marvelled at the skilled craftsmanship of the ice and snow artisans who gather every October to create this annual monument to ice and snow architecture.
What the program didn’t reveal was that the affable presenter expresses far more mixed sentiments in the book “Land of the Midnight Sun” which accompanies the series. Yes he agrees, the IceHotel is astonishing but, he wasn’t as enthusiastic about what he perceived as an over-commercialisation of the project. Having expected “the pinnacle of refined luxury” he instead encounters “a huge complex that feels like something between a shopping centre and one of those “Christmas Wonderlands” that pop up in the Home Counties in the run up to Christmas each year”
Our forefathers believed that the Northern Lights were anything from spirits of the departed to vanquished warriors to the gods themselves.
Some saw the lights as a portent of good, guests travelling to a celestial wedding for example but, in the main, the lights were generally associated with something more malevolent.
We’ve been looking through our vast library of images to illustrate just why our ancestors held the Aurora in such reverence. Here are a few examples.
A Very Angry God?
That is one very, very frightening face reflected in the mirror-like waters of the Paatsjoki River in Northern Finland.
Okay, first and foremost, we should perhaps rename this as “The Ten Coolest Places Where You are Unlikely to Sleep Beneath the Northern Lights” because it’s a pretty unusual person who can get to sleep while the Aurora is dancing across the night sky.
Burgeoning interest in the Northern Lights over the last few years has led to the creation of ever more innovative places from which to watch the spectacle.
From bubbles and domes to cabins and camps, here, in no particular order, are our Top Ten Cool Places to Sleep (possibly) Beneath the Northern Lights.
Given the nature of my work I regularly travel to the destinations featured here at The Aurora Zone and, as a result, I get to know the countries very well and also its inhabitants. I most frequently visit Northern Scandinavia and whenever I meet a Finn, a Swede or a Norwegian for the first time I always ask the same question:
“Where is your cabin?”
Almost without exception, Scandinavians own a cabin, a cabin with no running water, no electricity but a cabin which almost invariably enjoys an enviable lakeside position. These cabins are where the good people of Finland, Sweden and Norway escape to immerse themselves in nature, to relax and to just generally have a pretty laid back time.
A few years ago, one of our Finnish suppliers invited me to come over and spend a few days at his remote lakeside cabin. He could get some time away from work in late-October and simply wanted to enjoy some downtime before the busy winter months.
As with most of our guests, my first impression of Lapland in the winter is one of awe that so much snow can possibly exist in one place.
I was never fortunate to go skiing or anything like that when I was younger, so for me this was the first time I had seen what real winter can look like.
It is obvious when you travel to somewhere like Nellim in Finnish Lapland that the snow in the UK is really rather pitiful and quite literally pales into comparison to the thick deep white snow of Lapland. It covers everything – roads, paths, rooftops, trees, frozen lakes, giving the whole place a magical, pristine and beautiful feel.
One of the bests parts about working for The Aurora Zone is we are privileged enough to get the chance to witness one of nature’s most magnificent spectacles.
But just to put your mind at rest it is not like other industries whereby once you are on the inside you know the secrets so you can be quietly smug when you see the average Joe trying to achieve the same.
No, there is no magic aurora switch that only travel aurora specialists have access to….we have to go through the same trials and tribulations as our clients, ‘Will they, won’t they appear’, of, ‘Is that shadow? Is that cloud moving? Can I see a hint of green?’