Jump to content

Clare

Administrators
  • Content Count

    1,004
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

386 Excellent

About Clare

  • Rank
    Advanced Member

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. As we were walking back from the supermarket after doing the blog last night, we hit a new temperature record for this holiday - minus 28! It felt significantly warmer when we stepped out of the apartment this morning, and the thermometer in the village confirmed that it was a comparatively mild minus 14 We just caught a glimpse of the beautiful sunrise as we left the apartment and started walking towards the lake. Our plan for today was to give skiing a go on our own. We carried the (heavy!) skis as far as the sports shop, before getting changed into our ski boots and temporarily leaving our own boots behind in the shop. The advantage of doing it this way was that otherwise we'd have had to have walked all the way to the lake in the ski boots, skied, then carried the skis back to the apartment, changed into our actual boots, and carried the skis back to the shop. This way we could go skiing, then hand the skis back in and collect our own shoes once we'd finished Walking in the ski boots is actually really difficult because they don't have very good grips on them. Crossing the main road and walking through the supermarket carpark were particularly tricky, because the snow is quite compacted and slippy there, but we made it all in one piece and were soon on the lake, ready to begin. Alfie got off to a strong start I needed a bit of time to warm up Alfie was out-performing me and Tim so much that he was soon just a little black dot on the horizon! He may have managed a few more laps than we did We spent a bit of time catching our breath before setting off again. Once we'd skied to the far side of the lake, Alfie and Tim decided to practise their skills at skiing uphill... ...and downhill. Some attempts at going uphill were more successful than others Going downhill wasn't without challenges either! Once we were all thoroughly exhausted, we skied back across the lake, handed back our equipment and indulged in a large amount of pizza By the time we'd finished eating, it had started snowing outside. As we walked back towards the apartment, the snow got increasingly heavy, to the point where we couldn't even see the lake (it's normally visible in the distance here). By the time we got back to the apartment, it felt like a proper blizzard. There was lots of fresh powdery snow on the ground. We were able to walk through the untouched snow to the door of our apartment It was a fun end to what has been a great holiday. Tomorrow will be a long day of travelling, with our first at 10.50 from Kittila and then our second at 17.05 from Helsinki. Lapland is always a destination which involves a lot of travelling, but we definitely think it's worth the effort
  2. It felt very cold when we stepped out of the house this morning, and sure enough once we got to the village thermometer we found it was showing a temperature of minus 23. We were walking towards the frozen lake to try and find a snowshoeing path that we'd seen signposted while we were skiing in the woods the other day. On the way we passed a sign advertising ice swimming in the lake, but we decided to give that a miss and stick with our original plan of snowshoeing instead The lake looked beautiful again in the snow. We put our snowshoes on and then we were ready to set off. Tim's beard had already started to freeze I was looking rather cold too! As we set off across the lake, we could see a slightly pink glow in the sky, although the colours weren't as strong as they had been the other day. After a while we reached the far side of the lake and found the start of the trail, marked by blue poles. The path led us through the trees. The snow was pretty deep here... ...especially if you strayed off the path It was beautiful here, but extremely cold! Tim and Alfie decided that they were too cold and that they wanted to head back to the shopping centre to look for some souvenirs. I decided to carry on on my own and explore some more of the path. Once I was on my own, I may have got slightly carried away taking photos of trees again The further I went, the deeper the snow seemed to be. It definitely wasn't getting any warmer; if you look carefully in this photo you might be able to see the ice on my eyelashes, as well as my white hair The path became narrower... ...before leading up a snowy slope into the forest. Now I really was right between the trees. I was glad of the blue poles; without them it might have been difficult to tell where the path was going. The path continued along a little ridge for a while, but then started to lead quite steeply downhill. I decided I'd better turn back, because I might not get down the slope - or if I did, I might not get back up again I started making my way back towards the lake. It was coming up to 2pm now and so there was an orange glow in the sky... ...and a bit of pink over the big fell in the distance. I tried a sunset selfie As I emerged back out onto the lake, I was excited to see a herd of reindeer crossing the lake. They were quite a long way away, so it was difficult to get a good photo. Once they'd moved off into the trees, I continued on my way and was over halfway across the lake when I saw a single solitary reindeer in the distance. He started getting closer. Was he going to walk towards me? Wow, he literally walked right past me! I've never been as close to a reindeer as this By this stage I was in danger of turning into an icicle, so I headed back towards the supermarket. Tim and Alfie had had a successful shopping trip and discovered that, while we'd been out, the temperature had dropped even lower, hitting minus 25; a record low for this holiday!
  3. I hadn't fancied joining Tim and Alfie at the huskies today, not being a huge fan of dogs. That meant I had to find something else to do instead. I decided to opt for snowshoeing, and re-do the trail which we had all done together on Sunday. It had been snowing all through the night and so as I left the apartment behind and made my way towards the woods, the ground was covered in fresh snow. When I got to the point where the path began, I could see that a machine had been along to flatten the snow down a bit, making it easier to walk on, but it still seemed a lot deeper than on Sunday. Time to put snowshoes on! I set off on the path through the trees It was very cloudy today so the colours in the sky weren't as impressive as they have been on other days, but it was still really lovely. The trees seemed even more laden down with snow than they had earlier in the week. We've been told before that they bounce back once the snow melts, but it looked like it was going to be harder for some than for others. Some looked like they were never going to bounce back at all! I had a go at taking a selfie with snowy trees, but it wasn't terribly successful I could actually have spent all day taking photos of trees Some of them were really huge... ...while others were barely poking up through the snow. By this point I felt like I must be getting close to the cafe. Sure enough, I soon got confirmation that I was getting to the icy part of the walk. I figured if I'd got across the ice once, I could do it again I managed it without any problems and was soon back on the snow. I passed the cafe without going in; it was starting to snow again, so I thought it seemed best to press on. The most exciting thing about the next bit of the path was that I was the first person to walk on the fresh snow It was such a beautiful walk. The path led past a stream, which wasn't completely frozen... ...and then under some more bent-over trees. I had another go at a selfie here Then I got to the downhill slope part of the walk. This actually seemed easier today, with more snow to dig the snowshoes into. After that, it was back up through the valley of trees... ...and back to the road. You can't really tell from the photos, but at this point there was a minor blizzard, with lots of snow falling and a rather strong wind. By the time I eventually got back to the apartment, I was rather cold It was a great walk though and wonderful to walk in the fresh snow
  4. If yesterday was all about snowshoeing, today was all about skiing! Tim and I had tried cross-country skiing in Lapland a couple of times before but it's very easy to forget everything you've learned from one year to the next, and this was going to be Alfie's first time on skis, so we'd booked a beginners' lesson for this morning. The good news was that the weather was a bit warmer today, and so it was only about minus 12 as we made our way to the starting point for the lesson. We had to carry our skis down to the frozen lake, which has the advantage of being completely flat, so is an excellent place for beginners to practise Although it was 10am, as you can see in the photos it was still quite dark and the street lights were still on. We soon got to the lake. As you can see in this photo, cross-country skiing is done within tracks which are carved into the snow by special machines. You place each of your skis in the tracks and then follow them wherever they lead. First of all we learned how to clip into our skis... ...and then we were ready to go... ...although we were temporarily distracted by the beautiful pink colour of the sky This time it was sunrise rather than sunset. The instructor told us to put just one ski on first of all and to practise gliding in one of the tracks. Whilst we practised, the sky turned an even deeper shade of red. Once we'd mastered one foot at a time, we progressed onto skis on both feet. The instructor was a bit mean and confiscated our ski poles so that we had to work on our balance! Alfie was a bit better at it than me The sunrise continued to be incredible as we practised going up and down the tracks on the lake. With practice I was maybe getting a bit better Eventually we were given our poles back and I felt a lot happier. There was just time to have a last look at the sunrise, before we skied right to the far end of the lake. From there we had to learn how to move uphill with our skis, which was rather hard work. You have to stick your feet outwards like a penguin and try very hard not to slip backwards as you take small steps up the slope. Once we'd managed this, we were off the lake and onto one of the ski tracks beyond it. The terrain here was a bit more uneven, but it was exciting as we were skiing through the trees. At this point only one more challenge remained; skiing down a very steep slope! It looked way too steep for me so I opted out, but Tim and Alfie both managed it Alfie got most of the way down before falling over (but managed to stand back up again straightaway, using a technique we'd been taught at the beginning of the class). Tim's attempt went a bit wrong when he managed to come out of the tracks and descended the hill very fast indeed, although he somehow succeeded in getting back into the tracks in the end and remained upright throughout. Unfortunately no videos of this! That concluded the lesson, so it was time to head back to the lake. We were all rather tired by this point, so headed back to the apartment for a much-needed rest. Later this evening we'll be setting off for the lake again, this time to celebrate New Year
  5. When we picked up our equipment from the rental shop yesterday, the man there warned us that today was going to be a cold day. Sure enough, when we got up and ventured outside this morning, we found it was very cold indeed! Minus 20 was a big change from yesterday, which had felt comparatively mild for Lapland. It was so cold that I could feel my eyelashes starting to freeze. Our plan for today was to go snowshoeing in the woods behind the village. There's a really good path which we've used in previous years and is perfect for snowshoes. First of all we had to walk along one of the side roads out of the village, just wearing our normal boots. Then when we got to the start of the path, it was time to put our snowshoes on Tim might not have felt cold, but we could already see his hair and moustache starting to freeze! The path leads through the snowy trees and is criss-crossed at different points by ski runs and tracks for snowmobiles. Most of the time we were just completely alone in the forest though As always, the hardest part about snowshoeing is getting the straps on the snowshoes attached tightly enough that they don't fall off. It's the sort of thing which is easy to do when you're sitting down inside, but really difficult when you're outside in the snow and your fingers are numb. We got there in the end though After a while the path leads down into a snowy valley. We were surrounded by enormous trees on both sides. And we could just see the bumps of smaller trees poking up through the snow. The sky wasn't quite as bright as yesterday, but there were still some beautiful colours in it. It didn't come out in the pictures, but we could actually see the moon in the distance as well. After pausing for a while to take some photos, we were off again! In this part of the forest there were some trees which were really laden down by snow. Although it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere, we knew that we were now only a kilometre or so away from a cafe. That was good news, because we were now all starting to feel very cold. It wasn't just Tim's hair that was starting to freeze; mine was as well! The snow was deeper on this part of the walk, so we were glad that we had our snowshoes. There was just one final obstacle for us to cross before we could get inside in the warm for a bit 😮 I didn't like the look of that at all! We decided to send Tim across first to see whether it would bear his weight He got across without any problems, so Alfie went next and then I brought up the rear. The sign showed that we'd walked 4.8km from the village now. That meant that finally we were at the cafe and we could relax with a warm drink It was nice looking out at the snow from indoors for a while. We couldn't sit still for too long though, because we only had a couple of hours of daylight left to complete the rest of the walk and get back to the village. The return walk follows a slightly different route, which took us past some trees that were completely bowed over by the snow. It also required us to climb down quite a steep snowy slope. From there we rejoined the same path that we'd been on previously... ...and retraced our steps back to the road, where we paused to take off our snowshoes. It was starting to get dark by this point, so we'd just finished the walk on time. We found that while we'd been out the temperature had dropped even lower, hitting a very cold minus 23! All that remained was to get into the warm again for some very well-deserved pizza
  6. When we woke up this morning, we found that it had been snowing overnight, so there was lots of fresh powdery snow outside our apartment. It was still snowing a little bit by the time we finished breakfast and went outside, in fact. Our first task for today was to walk to the sports shop from which we were renting our snowshoes and skis, so we set off into the centre of the village. It was fun walking through the snow to the shop. It was slightly less fun when, having collected everything, we had to carry all the rather heavy equipment back through the snow to the apartment! Once we'd recovered from our exertions we set off once again, this time for a more leisurely stroll. There were people skiing past us as we made our way back to the centre of the village. Before long we caught a glimpse of the frozen lake in the distance. We'd been for a stroll down to the lake last night when we'd been taking advantage of the supermarket Wi-Fi to post our blog. It was different seeing it in the daylight though Part of the lake isn't completely frozen, where the local river flows into it. That part of the lake is completely fenced off with warning signs though, so there's no chance of you making a mistake in the dark! The partially frozen river is very pretty too, as Alfie and Tim found when they crossed the road for a closer look. We'd come to the far end of the village now (it's only small!) so we turned around and headed back towards the supermarket. The carpark outside the supermarket is home to this enormous reindeer... ...and from the far side of the car park, you can catch a glimpse of the local reindeer farm too. Some of the reindeer had huge antlers. A path leads down from behind the supermarket to the frozen lake. As you descend onto the lake, you can see the boathouses where people keep their boats in summer. And then all you can see is the enormous frozen lake itself, and some of the snowy fells in the background. There are a couple of paths to follow to walk across the lake. There are also a couple of ski runs, which are marked by red poles so that you don't stray onto them by mistake. As we made our way into the middle of the lake, we started to notice the unusual pink colours in the sky. The further we walked, the pinker it began to look... ...until suddenly it was very pink indeed! It was after 1pm by this point, so perhaps it was the beginning of sunset! It was beautiful anyway, and the most unusual colours we've ever seen in the sky in Lapland Tim was taking a picture of Alfie with the view... ...when I turned around and realised there were some reindeer walking across the lake! We were quite a long way away, so it was difficult to get a good photo, but they were definitely there. How exciting! As we finally got to the far edge of the lake, the sky looked increasingly dramatic. We followed a smaller path up into the trees on the other side of the lake for a while. This took us up past some cabins and to a small road... ...from where we had a view back down towards the lake. We couldn't really risk exploring any further in case it started to get dark, so we turned around to come back. Once we got back down to the lake, we could see that it was indeed starting to look like twilight. We did a bit of shopping at the supermarket and then headed back to the apartment just as darkness fell and the street lights started to come on again. We were quite tired by this point, having walked about six miles in the snow, but it was definitely worth it for the amazing views
  7. As soon as we got back from Lapland last January, we knew that we wanted to go again. Because the flights can be so expensive, we started looking at December 2018 prices straightaway and soon found an unexpectedly cheap option to fly to Helsinki with British Airways from Heathrow. There was a twist this year in that we also wanted to bring Tim's oldest nephew, Alfie, with us on the trip and so it was that less than a month after getting home from last year's holiday, we had already booked three return flights for this year. We managed to find reasonably-priced connecting flights from Helsinki to Kittila with Norwegian too, so we were all set to return to our favourite destination of Äkäslompolo. The thing which gave us the most trouble was finding accommodation. When we've booked in the past, apartments in Lapland have been quite flexible about the start and end dates for rentals. There seemed to have been a change this year, with the majority of accommodation only wanting to rent from Saturday to Saturday, at least for the Christmas week. We eventually managed to track down one solitary apartment which it was possible to let from a Friday to a Friday (which was what we needed to take advantage of the cheap flights we'd booked) and the good news was that it had room for three people. There was only one catch - it didn't have any Wi-Fi Could we survive an entire week without internet?! There were no other affordable options, so we decided we'd have to give it a go and hope that there would be some free Wi-Fi somewhere in the village of Äkäslompolo! Our flight from Heathrow to Helsinki was at 11am on Thursday, so we had a fairly civilised start to the holiday by our standards, not needing to leave home until 06.30. That was still early enough to avoid most of the traffic, so the drive down to Heathrow all went well and we arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare, so we could enjoy a leisurely breakfast. Our flight took off almost exactly on time and three hours later we touched down in the Finnish capital. Finland is two hours ahead of the UK, so it was just after 4pm here and already almost dark! More surprising than the darkness was the fact that there was a little bit of snow on the ground in Helsinki. There had been lots of articles in the British newpapers over the past month about a lack of snow in Lapland, following an unseasonally warm and dry November, so it was a relief to see that the weather was getting back to normal. If it was cold and snowy as far south as Helsinki, then we should be guaranteed lots of snow in Äkäslompolo Our onward flight to Lapland wasn't until Friday, so we stayed overnight in a hotel a couple of kilometres away from the airport. There was a free shuttle bus to the hotel from outside the main terminal, which was nice and convenient. When we checked in we found the rooms were a little on the small side, but nevertheless fine for one night. The other good thing about the hotel was that it was less than a kilometre away from a large shopping centre complex, which we'd discovered when we were in Helsinki this time last year. As soon as we'd got settled into our rooms, we set off through the snow to find it. It really wasn't far and we found a restaurant where we were all able to have a burger and chips for around €15 each, which is a bargain by Helsinki standards We then headed back to the hotel for an early night, because we had an early start for our flight on Friday morning. Our flight from Helsinki to Kittila was at 08.45 and the free shuttle bus was coming to take us to the airport at 06.00. That meant we had to arrange to meet for breakfast at 05.15, which felt a little bit painful! The hotel had a good breakfast buffet though, even if it was a bit difficult to take full advantage of it so early in the morning. Once we got to the airport, we had to track down one of the self check-in machines to print our boarding passes and baggage labels. This was the point at which our holiday all started to go wrong last year, when we failed to attach the baggage labels to our suitcases securely enough, with the result that Tim's label fell off and his bag didn't make it to Lapland! We weren't going to make the same mistake this year, and Tim made sure that all three labels were 100% stuck before we went to the baggage drop-off desk to hand them over. The flight to Kittila took around 90 minutes and soon we were landing in the snow The pilot told us before we got off the plane that it was minus 13 outside. That didn't stop someone getting off just wearing a T-shirt though! We soon discovered that all our bags had made it to Kittila as well (yay!). It was only about 10.30 at this point and we weren't allowed to check into our accommodation in Äkäslompolo until 16.00, so we decided to strategically miss the 11am airport bus and have a drink in the airport cafe, catching the bus which was scheduled to meet the flight after ours instead. Tim and Alfie also used the time to get changed into all their proper thermals! The next bus departed shortly after midday. Like all airport buses in Nordic countries, this one is a little bit on the expensive side, and it cost almost €70 for us all to buy tickets. Those are returns though, so now we just need to not lose the tiny slip of paper they gave us before next week... Once we left the airport behind and started driving through the snowy countryside, the views were amazing. We definitely needn't have worried that there wasn't going to be enough snow Now that it was finally daylight, it was a clear sunny day and so we had some great views of the fells in the distance as the bus drove us towards Äkäslompolo. The driver dropped us off in the centre of the village just after 1pm and we headed to our favourite restaurant to get some food. Alfie and I had enormous ham and pineapple pizzas, while Tim had another burger. By the time we had done a bit of shopping in the nearby supermarket as well, it was after 14.30 and so we decided to try our luck at checking into the apartment a bit early. We didn't have to meet anyone for check-in, having already been sent the code for the key box outside the property, so with luck we might be able to sneak in at 15.00 without anyone noticing! As we set off towards the apartment, it was already starting to look a bit like twilight and it felt very, very cold. We passed one of the village's public thermometers, which confirmed that it was in fact minus 17! Luckily we didn't have too much further to go and our run of good luck continued when the key code I'd been given for the apartment actually worked (another huge improvement on last year, when we were locked out after the rental company sent us the wrong code!). The apartment is nice and comfy inside; almost identical to the ones that we have stayed in in previous years, except that it has a staircase to a separate floor with an additional bedroom for Alfie Most importantly it's extremely warm inside, so we have all been able to thaw out. There really is no internet, but we did discover earlier that there is a free Wi-Fi network at the supermarket. This may be the first time I'm keen to be included in all the holiday shopping trips and probably also the most excited Alfie has ever been at being taken to a supermarket
  8. Clare

    TBS Towcester count

    Towcester Dan Camplison from MK To see Colin
  9. Clare

    TBS Daventry Count

    Daventry Micah Lau Mackaay To see Trevor
  10. Clare

    HOG cattle count

    New Creation Farm? George Meakin Contact - Daniel Lantsbery
  11. Clare

    Good Timber stocktake

    Droitwich Georgia Atwood Contact - Pete Sargeson
  12. Clare

    Silflex stocktake

    Wales Harry Tustin 07.00
  13. Clare

    Jennock stocktake

    Wales Rory Mulgrew 09.30
  14. Clare

    W&B stocktake

    Daventry Ben Roberts to see Sean Murray Arrive at 9am
  15. Clare

    HOG - firewood count

    Sara Mohammed (07305 948 103) To see Andy Lantsbery at New Creation Farm (andylants@ncfarm.co.uk) Expecting Sara at 10am.
×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.