The Artisan Blog
As the summer sun begins to fade and the dark nights start to return, some travellers might be tempted to pack their passport away for another year. However, we believe there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the arrival of the winter months.
Now don’t get us wrong we love sunny escapes to places such as Croatia, Madeira and the Azores and there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy some of the last of the summer sun if you want. However, what these destinations can’t offer, as excellent as they may be, is the chance to enjoy some truly great bucket list, Arctic experiences.
Despite having travelled to Finland several times by myself, I had never given my parents the chance to experience its wonders for themselves. However, in January they got to experience a holiday to Torassieppi in Finnish Lapland for the first time. Read on to find out what they made of their experience to the Arctic North!
To say we were apprehensive about going on a 25km Snowmobile safari is a drastic understatement. The closer to the activity we got the quieter Jorie and I became. However, when it was time for the activity we went along, watched the briefing video and before long we were being swept along on a snowmobile!
After a short stay at Brändön Lodge, we continued our journey north and ventured further into the Lappish wilderness. We were heading for a small village called Sörbyn, in Northern Sweden, where we would undertake perhaps the most anticipated activity. Dog sledding conjures up a variety of magical images but nothing quite compares to the reality.
We arrived at the location of our activity in the early afternoon but already the sun had begun its descent casting an orange glow on the surrounding snow. Three teams of dogs lay in wait and the moment they saw us approach they began to realise the time had come for another journey. Never before had I witnessed such excitement amongst dogs. They were eager to set off, climbing on top of one another, barking and trying to pull a sleigh which was anchored into the snow.
For the first half of the tour, two of us would control our own sleigh and the other two would sit on the guide's sled, then we would swap over. As the guide went through a list of instructions on how to control the dogs I began to feel quite nervous, and as a gentleman was about to offer my companions the opportunity to have their own sleds. Unfortunately, my colleague seemed equally nervous and had sat down on the guide's sled before he had finished speaking and thus I had no choice but to throw myself straight into it.
The crackle of logs burning in the stove
It has taken me an absolute age to write this blog because I can’t quite find the right words to describe the feeling of returning to a warm winter cabin after an active day spent engaged in winter’s Nordic activities. The deep snow serves to deaden noise so very often the only sound you’ll hear from outside is the wind and, on calm nights, it is almost eerily quiet beyond the doors of your wooden enclave. Inside, you get a sort of “Homestead on the Range” sensation which is enhanced by the crackle of logs burning in the stove and the creaking of the broad timbers from which the cabin is constructed.
We live crazy modern-day lives, always on the go with little time for relaxation or reflection. Of course, there are all sorts of quick fixes for the stresses of contemporary living such as yoga or visiting a spa but we’re prepared to bet that few people consider dog sledding as the antidote to the hustle and bustle of our present-day existences.
Time to think......imagine such a thing!
By its very nature, dog sledding takes you to a quieter and more remote place far removed from the traffic and crowds of our urban centres but, it also provides time to both reflect and relax. Imagine yourself standing on a sled being pulled by a team of willing canines. On easy stretches such as a vast flat frozen lake, there is little to do other than marvel at the scenery, enjoy the near perfect silence and think. Time to think....imagine such a thing!
There is nothing quite like the excitement of imminent departure as you and your small band of wilderness explorers wait to start the 5 day Husky safari at Harriniva in Finnish Lapland.
The anticipation has been building since the moment you awoke, ate your hearty breakfast and made your way the mere 200m across from the main building towards the increasing volume of eager huskies waiting for the chance to do what they love as working dogs...pull.
I defy anybody about to embark on their first ever dog sledding adventure not to feel the slightest hint of trepidation, I know I certainly did. It's the cacophony of sound emanating from the feverishly excited dogs that really sets the butterflies a-flapping in the stomach, there's something almost primeval about that wolf-like howling.
The first time I went dog sledding and on the numerous subsequent occasions, I found myself imagining how early trappers must have felt when they heard that long, deep, lupine "haa....rooooo!" echoing across an untamed wilderness. It's enough to send shivers down the spine.