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ARTIC TOUR - HUSKY SLEDS & SNOWMOBILES

MARCH 2020 £TBC / PERSON

Rough Itinery, exact details TBC

Day One: Fly to Oslo/ Kirkenes, Norway

We will be met at Kirkenes airport, 400km north of the arctic circle, and transfer to our guest house overlooking a beautiful frozen lake within sight of the Russian border. Dinner will be served on arrival followed by an introduction to your Norwegian team who will outline what to expect in the following couple of days.

Day Two: Huskies and Wild Camping. 5 Hrs

After breakfast we will be kitted out with snow suits and boots before being introduced to our dog team. After a short briefing on the basics of ‘mushing’ (after all, the dogs know what they are doing!) it's the long awaited off; a hard day's journey lies ahead before we eventually arrive at our wilderness campsite. Weather permitting, dinner will be eaten around the campfire. Rune will tell us stories of the traditional way of life in the frozen North. Who knows, we may see the Northern Lights?

Day Three: Huskies to Neiden. 9 Hrs

After an early start out from our wild camp, another long day with the Huskies lies ahead before we reach Neiden, a staging post on the famous Finnmarkslopet challenge. One of the world's greatest dog team races, the Finnmarkslopet, attracts competitors from all over the frozen world. After dinner, a sauna and maybe a splash in the outdoor hot tub? We sleep in small log cabins.

Day Four: Neiden to Inari. 120 km

We say goodbye to our trusty dogs and move the expedition up a pace. We'll meet our Finnish guides Tapani and Tuomas who have supplied us with the snowmobiles, our only means of transport for the next six days. After being given a safety briefing where we will be informed about the do's and don'ts of snow scooter protocol, followed by a quick run through to familiarise us with the machine's controls, we are gone.

Time to make tracks in the snow.

Today we travel south crossing the frozen Lake Inari into Finland. Lunch on an ice-locked island followed by an opportunity to try your hand at ice fishing, good luck! Tonight we sleep in log cabins with stunning views over the lake. You can take a sauna and swim in the snow, or for the nutters amongst us, a chance for the polar plunge. The water will have a temperature of about 3 degrees we guarantee you won't be in for long.

Day Five: Inari to Karasjok. 140 km

First thing this morning we will visit a delightful museum which will help us gain insight into the hard life endured by the Sami. To be followed by a fast breathtaking day racing over the ice back into Norway to Karasjok, the Sami capital, and home to over 60,000 reindeer during the winter grazing. Tonight we stay at the award winning Engholm Eco lodge - a collection of beautiful log cabins with sauna and hot tub. The proprietor, Sven Engholm, has won the Finnmarkslopet 11 times and if we are lucky, over a supper of locally caught game, Sven will tell us about some of his incredible experiences in this, the world's northernmost dog sledge race.

Day Six: Karasjok to Levajok. 130 km

This morning we visit a Knivsmed (knife maker) and the Sami cultural museum/gallery. This is a chance to learn a little more about the Sami way of life - a traditionally nomadic community who have farmed reindeer for centuries. Then back on the snowmobiles and off to lunch at Levajok, a stop on the Finnmarkslopet race. We then head up into the mountains and weather permitting will enjoy spectacular views over the Arctic wilderness before returning to our hotel on the Finnish border where a delightful dinner of Arctic Char awaits.

Day Seven: Levajok via the Sami encampment and onto Nourgam. 110km

Today we will visit and have lunch at a reindeer herder's encampment. After a sled or ski racing competition pulled by? Yes you have guessed it! We will sample some of the local delicacies: reindeer heart, tongue and blood pancakes washed down with frozen vodka. Replete and exhausted we will take a night ride to our log cabins. Please note it is extremely impolite to ask a Sami how many reindeer he owns.

Day Eight: Nourgam to Polmak. 170 km

A full English breakfast will be served at Marjetta's cafe before we leave Finland for the last time. What follows is a fast but long day. If the Nordic Gods are with us and the timing is right, we hope to be able to catch up with the reindeer migration as the herd of up to three thousand head north to the coast in search of fresh summer grazing. This is a rarely granted privilege and is to be deemed an honour.

Later we intend to make progress and will endeavour to reach the Arctic Ocean.

That night we stay with Esther, a Sami Shaman who, after a great supper, will tell us magical, mythical tales of life with the indigenous reindeer herders. We will also be privileged to hear the traditional sung yoik.

Before bed there will be a chance to have a sauna or enjoy a hot tub before sleeping in a gamme (a turf covered but looking a little like a Hobbit's home from the Shire).

Day Nine: Polmak to Neiden. 120km

Tonight we return to Neiden where we will have supper and a farewell party in the communal Laavu. The hot tub and a final sauna are not to be missed.

Day Ten: Neiden to London

Breakfast and then at 9am we jump on to a bus to Kirkenes airport from where we fly to Oslo before connecting on to London Heathrow, arriving in the U.K at 4.30pm. A chance to meet your loved ones and recount tales of derring do and the wonders seen!