After a test run starting and finishing in Alta I have decided to run the trips from Alta again next year. The hotel is nicer and the itinerary more relaxed. Starting and finishing at Alta gives us more time at the cabins.
2017/2018 Northern Lights Expeditions to Norway, travelling by road and snow scooter, staying in mountain cabins. Including food for 4 days, ice fishing, snow scooter use and optional photo/video tuition. You must book your own flights to Alta, Norway.
2018 Tour 1: Arctic Dawn. On this tour we will see the very first sunrise of the year. The moon will be absent during the night, so best suited for shooting and viewing faint Aurora. Arrive Friday 12th January 2018, depart Thursday 18th January 2018. £1,350 per person. Max 8 people. (cost of flights NOT included). You must arrange your own transport to and from Alta, Norway. Please ask about paying in instalments.
2018 Tour 2: Moonrise Tour. On this tour we will have a rising moon (after new moon) The moon will start at 4% illumination and increase to 36% illumination over the course of the tour. This will provide interesting possibilities for moonlit landscapes, but if the Aurora is very, very faint it may be harder to see. But don’t worry, the Moon won’t get very high in the sky and it will set early each evening leaving plenty of completely dark night time hours for Aurora watching or star gazing.
The days will be longer during this tour than the first tour giving more time for the daytime activities and daylight photography. Sunrise will be around 10.30am and sunset just after mid-day. This is the time of year when the sun skims along the horizon giving beautiful “golden hour” light all day long. Arrive Thursday 18th of January 2018, Depart Wednesday 24th of January 2018. £1,350 per person max 8 guests. Please ask about paying in instalments.
The tour dates are timed for optimum moon conditions. You don’t want a bright full moon making the Aurora invisible! While the prices may seem high do consider that food is included for most of the trip. Eating out in Norway is very expensive, breakfast, lunch and an evening meal could easily cost £65-£100 ($100-$150) per day. A one day snow scooter safari costs around £400 to £500 so I hope you can see that these adventure tours really are excellent value. Where possible we now also go Dog Sledding on one day. There is an extra charge 1000 NOK (approx 100 Euro) per person for this. You will spend a half day with the dog teams and get to drive your own team of dogs during a 1 hour dog sled ride.
NEW for 2018: Camping on the Finnmarksvidda! Weather permitting for at least one night we will set up a tent equipped with a heater on the high arctic plateaux to use as a base for a night of Aurora watching with a very different view point. You don’t need to stay or visit the tent if you don’t wish to, but it will be a new experience for those that wish to take part.
Please use the contact form to hold a place and for more details. Spaces limited.
Every year I run small expeditions to Norway. These trips have proved to be so popular that I have had to turn people away most years and many people come back year after year.
These are magical experiences of a lifetime. These expeditions are very different to the more normal Northern Lights excursions to Tromso where you will often be transported by bus to commonly used Aurora viewing locations where you may have 40 or more people all trying to get the best vantage point, tripping over cameras and tripods and dazzling one another with torches. In addition when out for the night on a bus, if you get cold there is nowhere to go and warm up. This is not my idea of fun and it spoils the moment. That’s why I developed these expeditions.
Day 1, the first day is the arrival day. You must make your own way to ALTA in Northern Norway. There are flights to ALTA FROM TROMSO AND OSLO with connections worldwide in to Oslo. If you arrive early enough, after diner if the weather conditions are good then we will spend the evening watching the Northern Lights from one of several locations that offer great viewing and photo opportunities. If you wish to fly in a day early I can book an extra night at the hotel for you from approx £120 per room, let me know if you require this.
On Day 2 we leave the hotel at 9.30 am to make the 2.5 hour drive to just outside of small town of Karasjok. On the way we will stop to photograph frozen ice falls along the roadside and often we encounter reindeer herds as we get closer to Karasjok. We should arrive outside Karasjok at midday.
Here we exchange our mini-bus for snow scooters as we prepare to head off into the remote Arctic wilderness. After a 60 minute (16km) snow scooter ride up through a beautiful snow covered forest, up beyond the tree line and across frozen lakes we will come to a group of small huts at a remote place called Ravnastua.
This is a magical place, far from the stresses of our modern lives where life is simple, the air is clear and fresh and the scenery breath taking. By arriving early in the day we have time to settle in and prepare to spend the evening watching out for “Thor’s Chariots” or the Northern Lights. A simple meal will be provided in the late afternoon/early evening as well as snacks later in the evening. The small valley the cabins nestle in shelters us from the wind. If you get cold you can pop back inside to warm up by the log fire or enjoy a drink or two.
Day 3 is spent exploring the local area by snow scooter. We often encounter Reindeer herds and husky dog teams. I run optional video and stills photography workshops during the short day. The days are short, the sun barely creeping above the horizon, but when it does the light is beautiful as the snow becomes bathed in golden light.
Our accommodation in the cabins is shared, 4 beds to a room. Heating is from a log stove. Toilets and washing facilities are very basic as it is too cold for running water. Outside it can get down to -40c. The coldest one of my expeditions has experienced is -43c. Typicaly you can expect -14c to -24c but you will be prepared for the cold and we are never far from a warm and cosy cabin. Inside it’s warm, comfortable and the atmosphere in the evenings is social and highly enjoyable sitting around the log burner enjoying our host Oskars local stories, enjoying a drink and watching the stars and Aurora. Ravnastua was chosen as the final destination due to it’s mountain location. The locals say that when the temperature gets down to -20c then the sky will be clear. Our experience is that this is indeed true and every year we have seen the Aurora from this location on the majority of nights.
Day 4 will be spent further exploring the local area, possibly with an excursion to Karasjok, or ice fishing on one of the frozen lakes either drilling holes in the ice for fishing rods or cutting a larger hole with a chainsaw for Finnish style under ice net fishing. It should however be remembered that we will be in the arctic so all activities are weather and snow conditions permitting. Those that have not driven a snow scooter before will get a brief lesson on how to drive and handle a snow scooter. Again the evening is spent watching for the Northern Lights. On at least one evening Oskar will prepare the traditional Sauna Hut. This is a communal sauna hut with a large cast iron long burning stove. Water is poured on the stove to create steam and the hut becomes a very hot Sauna. This is how the locals stay clean. Rolling in the snow between sauna sessions is optional, but highly recommended! When you get back to your nice warm cabin after the Sauna there is no need for a hair dryer as you’ll be able to just brush out the ice. Your hair will freeze during the short walk to the main huts, but I promise you won’t feel cold at all.
Day 5 is a free day at the mountain cabins where you will be free to explore on your own by snow scooter. In the afternoon, if wanted, there will be fun snow scooter egg and spoon races out on a frozen lake. Weather permitting we may take an excursion to another group of mountain cabins at Mollysjok further up the Finmarksvidda.
Day 6 is our last day at the cabins. On one day we will enjoy an optional dog sled excursion. We will either travel to a local Husky dog farm and then go on a dog sled ride from there, or 3 teams of dogs will come to the cabins and guests will be able to go on a dog sled ride directly from the cabins. In either case everyone gets the option to drive their own team of dogs. In the late afternoon we will leave the cabins and travel by snow scooter back to the main road and from there transfer back to the mini bus to return to Alta. In the evenong if the skies are clear we will go Aurora hunting along the coast near Alta.
Day 7 is departure day. If your flight is later in the day you can explore some of Alta’s museums and galleries in your own time.
From some of my guests from previous trips:
Judy & I have been back from our Northern Lights adventure for four days now and we are browsing photos and still buzzing! Being lucky enough to see the Aurora on five nights was sufficient, but thanks to you and your ‘in-house team’, we did so much more – so many new experiences.
From your comprehensive pre-trip advice on clothing, conditions and timetable we really were as prepared as we could have been and the whole group agreed that, once there, the leadership balance was right – a good mix of precise arrangements and flexibility for us to do what we wanted within a safe environment. Ice fishing, riding the ski scooters, ‘cross country’ skiing, sauna and naked snow rolling were all optional but were taken up by most of the group. And still time for us to take in the local (-24ºC) environment on our own, or enjoy your company in Oskar’s warm and cosy hut.
And we never thought we would get used to an outside loo in -24ºC but, this included, we wouldn’t have changed anything about the trip! Thank you, Alister
Judy & Ian
‘Thank you’ seems so inadequate to describe one of the best adventures of our lives. Our trip with you (January 2012) to Ravnastua in Northern Norway was exceptionally well organised, perfectly prepared and inspirationally led. We were lucky enough to see exceptional Aurora activity on 5 consecutive nights, but also experienced, and enjoyed, stars and galaxies, snow scooter rides, skiing, reindeer herds, husky sleds, fishing through a hole in the ice, sub-zero temperatures down to -32°C., sauna and jumping (naked) into snow drifts, meals of elk, reindeer, pike, snow berries and the most flavoursome salmon ever, fabulous frozen vistas and bonding friendships that can only come from such an adventure.